We advise our clients to deeply respect the privacy/opt-out request of a customer, and to honor this almost absolutely – even within an ongoing business relationship. Purely transactional messages can be an exception; though, even in this case care should be taken. If you are superseding the privacy request of a customer for ‘non-commercial’ scheduled messages (those not triggered by a customer action) you are inviting trouble. You may have CAN-SPAM memorized chapter and verse and know your compliance standards, but guess what: your customers aren’t reading CAN-SPAM legislation. Fail to honor the privacy/opt-out request and you leave the customer with the difficult responsibility of evaluating if your messages are spam. And the customer’s perception of your message may not be good.
Take a look at results from a recent Marketing Sherpa study that identifies the top-five reasons consumers hit the ‘spam’ button.
Takeaways? The way your customer views your well-crafted, completely compliant email message is likely far different than your perception of it.
The smart marketer will respect this environmental context because the consumer’s perception rules. Superseding an email privacy request can be defended by citing CAN-SPAM chapter and verse. However, your customer may phrase their argument differently: “I did not want to receive this email from you. I’ve told you this before by opting-out; and, since you continue to send me email, I will report you to the FTC.”
The circumstances in which you should be superseding an opt-out request should be rare and in those instances Marketing, Care and Legal should be at the table approving this decision because the ramifications of customer misperception can far outweigh the benefits of the message.