Spam, as you know, is a problem. Our good friends and Wikipedia seem to think that 90 billion pieces of spam are sent every day, and that 80-85% of our incoming emails are spam.
We’ve all seen it. The Africa bank representative that will deposit $10 million into your bank as soon as you pass on your bank account details … The UK lottery board announcing your 11th $250 million win since last Thursday … the pills that you can take that make you longer and stronger. It’s endless.
Who is sending it? And why can’t we get rid of it?
To answer those questions, I suggest we go back and define what spam actually is.
I’d argue that the origins of spam date back way before email, and to the day where it became impossible to produce more than one message at the one time.
Unless you have been given specific instuction to do so, sending Junk Mail is spam. Using Mail Merge is spam. Sending group email is spam. And yes, the Facebook were-wolf invitations too are Spam.
And so the answer to my aformentioned questions are a) We are all sending it, and b) we can’t get rid of it unless we all stop spending it.
I’ve got a little business idea that I’m working on at the moment, and am experimenting with the anti-thesis of spam. Customised, personalised contact with people with genuine one to one communication. Not through customised database marketing and micro-segmentation. But by actually taking the time to contact someone personally. If I write an email, I’m writing one person that email. It’s doesn’t come from a template, but from 10 minutes of actually writing an email.
Sure, it’s time consuming. And hardly anyone does it these days. But I’ve got a hunch that it’s going to work. Because if you can’t give your customers or your audience the time to be in touch with them on a completely personal level, why would they bother listening to you?