There is still a bit of discussion going on around the HBR article on how B2B mail should be opt-out not opt in on various delivery blogs. Over on the Blue Sky Factory blog new daddy (congratulations!) DJ writes a post about why he thinks opt-out in any context is a poor marketing decision.
One of his commenters follows up with a long comment about how recipients shouldn’t get angry when they get unsolicited email from a company they have interacted with.
We decide who we think may want to hear from us. The decision is not scientific, we just look at their profile and add them if we see fit. If someone in Sales gets a contact name and someone in Marketing ends up contacting that person, we’ve usually done our homework and know a bit about why we’re attempting to contact said person.
Fundamentally, though, it’s not about the sender. It’s all about the recipient.
It’s certainly possible that the company above actually considers the recipient and really are trying to send mail only to those folks who want it. But, the vast majority of companies who preach “opt-out” aren’t putting that much time or thought into the decision of whether or not to send mail to a particular recipient. If they get an email address, they add that address to marketing lists and commence sending mail.
One to one mail is OK and can be done on an opt-out basis. This is particularly true when a potential customer gives you an email address and asks for more information. But bulk email on an opt-out basis quickly overwhelms the recipient and their mailbox. An overflowing mailbox does not lead to receptive customers. Respect your contacts, respect their time and their space and don’t add them to newsletters or email marketing lists without their permission.