November 6, 2001 Volume 1 Issue 24
SPAM ... more than what's in the can
Most of us alive today are too young to remember SPAM and World War II. When the war was waging the product was almost a staple.
As a kid I do remember eating the stuff every so often. Yet, I've always felt anything that comes in a can isn't as good as if it does not. Vegetables and fruit are better fresh. Certainly "meat", which is more, or less, what SPAM in a can is.
Mom was a grand cook - dad had a huge "victory garden" during WWII, and kept it going long afterwards. We had fresh everything. And SPAM was not.
Well, today spam, as you know, has another meaning. Let's see if we can define it. And talk about it without ranting and raving and tossing things. For, it seems the "new" spam is something that gets a lot of folks very excited. Something that happened only rarely with the older variety.
Shall we begin with a little history? Thanks to a couple of fine friends, Amy Africa in Vermont and Rodney Joffe in Arizona, this is what I've learned about spam and E-mail marketing.
First, the word spam . . . notice it is spelled in lower case. SPAM is the luncheon meat. Owned by Hormel - who safely guards their product and its trademark. As long as you spell the Internet variety in small letters - s p a m - they won't haul you into court. Cap it and you may be in big time trouble.
There are several stories about who should be given credit for the word s p a m being applied to "junk" E-mail. One version is it comes from a Monty Python Flying Circus sketch. A couple in a restaurant are trying to order something without SPAM ... it is impossible. The song that goes with it uses the word SPAM over and over and over again and again and again. Just like unsolicited bulk E-mail spam.
Another school of spam thought says the term comes from the University of California at Berkeley. A computer lab group felt the characteristics of SPAM the food and spam on the web were similar;
Don't know if this is true - certainly sounds like Berkeley.
spam got going about the same time the WWW really began to take off - 1994. In my home state of Arizona, Rodney Joffe tells me. A pair of lawyers (no surprise so far!) used messages posted to the USenet newsgroups to hustle (Rodney's word!) their USA Immigration Green Card Lottery practice. From that point forward, it's been all uphill (or downhill, depending on how you look at it).
A few weeks ago I read another article about spam It began this way; "It seems as if there is a lot of it going around, but consumers and businesses are often confused about what spam really is." Change a word or two and this sounds like a medical report!
Like it or not, here is an agreed upon definition:
What does this say? It says, ... "if your E-mail message is an advertisement, an urge to get out the vote, a solicitation in time of need, or almost anything else!, if you didn't ask for it, didn't sign up for it, didn't leave your E-mail address on a web form or some form asking for it, it's spam." Period!
Shall I be controversial? I disagree with the definition. And the explanation.
Why? Because it is far, far too broad. The terms "any", "unsolicited" and "unwanted" are too broad. And when you put them together they are totally out of line. This definition would never fly with television or radio, in magazines or newspapers, with direct mail, fax marketing or even the always attacked telemarketing. So, why must it apply to E-mail marketing?
Of all the reasons I've heard when these "discussions" take place, I'm still not sold. Yes, I very much understand "unsolicited". And I understand "unwanted". I do not understand them together. And I certainly don't understand when you add the word "any" in front.
The last thing I want to do is send you something you do not want. I avoid that like yellow fever. It's all bad, takes my time, costs me money. Yet, how do you know you don't want something from me if you don't know it's available?
What has made America America and opened "the west" to others, is our feedom, free enterprise, choice and a high standard of life. Brought about with marketing, advertising, sales promotion, public relations, merchandising and direct marketing. These disciplines, so active in the States and much of the "free" world, have allowed us to grow. To be creative. To offer opportunities not available elsewhere.
So, what really makes this single tactic - E-mail marketing - "different"?
Here's what I think; I think the do gooders want all of us to live their way. I think it is a dictatorship philosophy. Under the cloud of such nice sounding words as "permission". Which is as difficult to define as spam. Yet, right or wrong, good or bad, black or white, the way it is is the way it is. Love it or hate it (you can guess I hate it) - accept it.
So, although I disagree with the extremeness of the "rule", I do accept it. Yes, I really do. Why? There are 3 primary reasons;
... You pay for spam. Yes, for every other media the creator pays all the costs. Not so with spam. Oh, there are costs. Yet, you also pay ... as your ISP has a cost of handling all transmissions. Including spam. Guess who pays for it? ... you do. With higher rates.
... Flat out fraud. There are bad guys out there. Who have discovered another way to take your money and make it their own. The web is no different than your telephone or mail box - it's another way to reach you with their "deal". Unfortunately, because the web is so available, and so easy to work within, it's easy for the wrong type of people, too.
... The bad pulls down the good. This philosophy is true with every topic, organization, association, subject, media. The "bad apple" rule. When you and I are playing by basic, standard common sense guidelines, preparing an original E-mail marketing message for our opt-in list, there are those who think otherwise. Who question everything first, and get the real facts later.
That being said, how do you make it work for you? Like much in life, if we are to continue to live we "work within bounds". The combination of E-mail marketing and the current definition of spam is a good example. Neither is going away. At least not anytime soon. So, how do you market using this marvelous E-tool, and not spam your way into trouble?
Here are a few common sense marketing things to do;
#1). Clearly identify your E-mail marketing audience ... just as you would with every other media you use. Nothing wild out of the box here. Instead, a fundamental. A basic. Know who can buy what you sell. First.
#2). Using whatever means available - and for certain more than a single tool - let that specific marketplace know you offer something of great interest. Repeat your message - repeat your message - repeat your message ... so this audience knows what you offer. Be interesting with your offer.
#3). Then, build your own E-mail marketing list with each positive response you receive. No matter how you get your message out, nor how you get a response, these contacts are now yours. You may build your house list by buying others and making an offer. Or you can do it one-by-one-by-one ... whatever it takes.
#4). Next, invite this clearly identified marketplace to accept your message, your offer. i.e., pitch 'em! Yes, pure and simple, make your approach. When you've selected the right marketplace, built the right list and have the right offer, it is time to go to market. To make something happen. To Ask For The Order.
Next week I'll offer "Part II" to this discussion. With a further collection of "how to..." ideas. With my Baker's Dozen approach to E-mail marketing. A laundry list of 13 things to do to make your marketing message work for you.
In the between time, keep SPAM and spam separated. Or they may fight each other!
When it was time for me to go to school I had only a rough idea of what I wanted to do. So I majored in philosophy. Which is fairly useless toward getting a job, yet, lots of fun to talk about.
Every issue of this E-zine includes a quote from the world's most famous philosopher - Anonymous.
Here is my choice for this week;
"When you lose don't love the lesson."
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
Over the past couple of months I've enjoyed a number of speaking engagements.
In Asia. In Europe. And a number of USA locations. In fact, this is the first week I've spent time in my office since mid-October.
The "speaking season" is much slower during the holidays. So, this is a good time to tell you about my special BONUS:
when you invite me to speak at your special event, conference, corporate meeting or association gathering, you get your choice of 100 FREE copies of either my book Power Direct Marketing, or the audio/booklet direct mail package titled Magic Marketing Minutes!
For details, E-mail Ray@RayJutkins.com, fax +1+928+244-6148, or phone me at 1+928+785-9400.
A FREE Audio Tape for YOU!
Because Ray Speaks ... it is expected he'll have audio and video tapes.
Why? To share with speakers bureaus, meeting planners and others interested in what he may have to say. So "yes", there is an audio tape. And he'll be happy to send you a copy. FREE. No strings attached.
The tape is a selection from several speaking gigs. A few case histories, some "how to..." ideas. And such. About an hour's worth of chatter ... some of it actually very entertaining!
If you'd like your very own copy, send an E-mail to ...
Oh, when you have a need for a speaker, and feel a demo video tape could be valuable to you, just ask for a copy. Not much use for video these days - with the Web - still, we'll be happy to forward one to you. Just ask.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.