Spam by any other name, different inbox.

It never ceases to amaze me, once a fortnight, how great I am at recycling - particularly when half of the material wasn't actually used in my household. And it was this fine piece of communication that tipped me over the edge - to the ultimate question... how the heck is this not spam?

The answer is simple – it’s not electronic.
It’s lazy marketing/advertising.
It’s unsolicited.
It’s not opt-in.
Worst of all, who knows how much energy is wasted in producing, delivering and recycling mass wastage?

The Opt In Philosophy
So what is the point to this rant? Coming from a predominantly offline company, where Direct Marketing was a successful and cost effective way to reach audiences I never understood how Letter Box Dumps were measurable. Now online I see this even more through analytics, response data and creative testing what success actually looks like and how accountable digital marketing can be.

I understand there are industries that rely on this activity but surely all our mass communications should be adopting an accountable philosophy, right? My experience in the industry lent towards the yes for a direct mail strategy. There is a higher outlay but response rates increase, wastage reduces, and when combined with cost effective alternatives (i.e. SMS, email) the returns can be outstanding.

The Spam Act
According to the Spam Act 2003, spam is “unsolicited commercial electronic messaging”. If we, for the sake of the argument, ignore the word "electronic" in the Spam Act and analyze the 3 key area's in relation to Junk Mail - how would it perform?

1 Consent
"Only send commercial electronic messages with the addressee’s consent - either express or inferred consent."

FAIL - there is no consent in letter box drops, it could be argued "No Junk Mail" signs are opt-out and everyone else is fair game. However, from my basic desktop research I could not ascertain if this was legally binding.

2 Identify
"Include clear and accurate information about the person or business that is responsible for sending the commercial electronic message."

I will conced on this point, after investing the money to send out these communications - identity is not usually an issue.

3 Unsubscribe
"Your commercial messages should contain an unsubscribe facility, allowing people to indicate that such messages should not be sent to them in future."

As per point 1 - the onus is on the organisation to prove the previous relationship not for the individual to add signage to their personal property.

We ask something from brands, and they ask something from us - surely if they take the time to actually talk to us it can only enhance their position in the market?


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