Tim Hughes' thought-provoking post (below) paints a fairly bleak picture of the future for direct marketing. He may be right, and there may well be a lot of people out there who relish their empty inboxes and pop-up free browsing experience.
I respect that view. But I can't help but feel that those sounding the death-knell of email marketing in particular are being a little premature. Sure, it is harder to do marketing by email now. But that just means that the playing field is a little clearer. Absolutely, it is frustrating for marketers to have seen contact lists decimated as they went through the painstaking exercise of re-papering for consent ahead of last May. But doesn't that just mean that those who are still on the lists actually want to hear from you?
Those who have read other posts of mine will know that I spend quite a lot of my time trying to unpick some of the more harmful and negative myths around GDPR. One of the most pernicious is that it is a legislative regime that is designed to make legal things impossible.
You absolutely should not be able to pick up an unverified list of 4 million records and carpet-bomb them with untargeted spam e-mails. But if you want to communicate with an audience who wants to hear from you; if you want to do it in a way that is respectful of their privacy preferences; and if you want to communicate in a less saturated space than the "who shouts loudest" free-for-all of social, email may just be your friend.
It takes work. There are no shortcuts to building lists for your own purposes, let alone sale on to others, in a GDPR compliant way. But it is far from impossible. There is a way to do it legally, distinctively and respectfully. For businesses who want to build a more personal, directed relationship with their customers and targets, I suspect that we will find that email is a long way from being gone as a channel for that conversation.
It was in 2018 that CMO after CMO came to us and said, Marketing isn't working any more. 2 Billion (that's Billion) people use ad-blockers and that is growing at 30% year-on-year. And we hear story after story of people using advertising and getting nothing in return. With the classic demand generation usage of advertising, cold calling and email gone, where do you go? Go to where your clients are maybe?