Mindfulness can be seen as the practice of “being in the moment” – but what does this actually mean? Does it mean that if we’re mindful we should never think about the past or the future, never try to plan or to reflect on our past experience?
Actually, being “in the moment” means “being mindfully aware of what is going on right here and now, in our experience”, and this includes any thinking we do about the past or future. Much of the time our experience does not have this quality of awareness or mindfulness. A lot of the time we are like robots, automatically living out patterns of every day life in our personal and work lives.
Ok, now that the philosophy lesson is over, what the heck is my point? As many of you may know, my time in my career vertical has been spent in the digital marketing realm. Working to help build modern marketing tools for the modern marketer while still keeping the peace between the marketer and the consumer when it comes to how we use data.
What has me on fire today was a piece of email marketing that took me a moment to understand why I got it. I did recall that at the end of 2011 beginning of 2012 I had signed up for a product that would help me dock my MACBook Air/Pro to my workstation (yea, little lazy sometimes). As usual, I used a tagged email address to get their newsletters and get more information. As time moved on, I forgot about them and mostly because I never got a welcome email or any newsletter since and Apple came out with some new connective technologies/processes that I adopted, until this today. Little miffed at the sight of a poorly missed opportunity from a marketing perspective, but more about they decided to ignore simple and time tested marketing traditions and best practices.
The fact is that from the marketing perspective they should have either used it to communicate with us or gotten rid of the data. A lot of us in the email industry talk to senders asking about age of lists and recommending that they don’t send to them if they are 6-12 months old. Usually that is due to the nature of email turnover and complaint ratios (this is spam button).
Forget the fact that others who got the mail message marked them as spam and will probably get the attention of MailChimp who’s platform was used to send the email. (I did send this over to a friend there). In fact, Mail Chimp is caught in the middle of all this as well since they have to deal with the increased of complaints. Not their fault nor do they control the brands decision to send or what list to use.
My real point here is the the privacy perspective. These companies who we’ve trusted with this data hasn’t touched or used this data in over two (2) years….at least from my perspective. Why were they holding on to it for so long? I mean, keeping it just exposed them to a bigger issue if it occurred; a data breach.
What about data regulations? What about getting rid of unused data? Did they really need to keep those email address for that long if they had no plan in the beginning to use them? They did say sign-up here for a newsletter and product release notices, but to wait two (2) years to send that is a bad message about data governance and privacy rules in marketing. This is exactly why the industry is under attack right now. People don’t trust us. This industry is swollen with data on consumers and I find it frustrating that many still don’t practice the idea of QUALITY over QUANTITY. (will hold myself back on te data brokers debate) Heck, just simple doing what you say in a promise would be nice from time to time.
In this case, they missed the real moment. They, like many other stewards of our data, turned into robot’s and performed the same patterns in email marketing from the past 10 or 20 years. “Hey look!, we have email addresses from two (2) years ago, lets see if we send to them if we can increase our revenues” They weren’t being mindful of the consumer who trusted the contact points with them who expected an email barrage from the beginning. I know…barrage is such a negative word, but I made the choice to give them my email address for more information knowing I would get an email, but not just two (2) years later. Nor did the brand consider the privacy regulations they need to be adhering too.
Be in the moment friends. Not just from a marketing standpoint, but from a privacy one as well. Garner the trust of your consumers and say what you going to do and when. If your not going to, then don’t ask for the data or get rid of it if you’ve not had a plan BEFORE you collected them. Don’t give the regulators more reason to put more restrictions on you. Heck, simply following the ones we have today like get rid of unused data would be a great start.