Practice Safe Append

Posted by Matt Blumberg 

After flying below the radar screen for awhile now, append is back in the news of late. First, there was a slam in the pages of the venerable direct marketing bible, Direct Magazine. Then, a slightly more nuanced, but still unflattering, write up was found in MediaPost’s Email Insider column.

Once upon a time though, email append seemed like a great idea. Direct marketers had been using data append in various ways for eons, with much success to recommend the tactic. So why not append email addresses to your postal file and quickly grow your email marketing list?

Well, then too many companies did it, consumers got savvy, the “this is spam” button was invented and append got really, really icky. That Direct Magazine piece offers a great example of what this looks like to a consumer. Not a pretty picture.

And yet … append is still so appealing, isn’t it? (It’s okay, you can admit it.) You have people on your house file with a postal address or phone number. Maybe they have signed up for the Do Not Call list, but you can still send them email, right? And, you sincerely believe you have something great to offer them through email.

There is such a thing as a good append. But only if you don’t take the path of least resistance and do it the way you’d append demographics to your house file. As Apple says, Think Different.

Read our Append research brief for a step-by-step guide to appending data safely and effectively.

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About Matt Blumberg

Matt Blumberg founded Return Path in 1999 because he believed the world needed email to work better. Matt is passionate about enhancing the online relationship between email subscribers and marketers so that both sides of the equation benefit. It is with great pride that he has watched this initial creation grow to a company of more than 400 employees with the market leading brand, innovative products, and the email industry’s most renowned experts. Before Return Path, Matt ran marketing, product management, and the internet group for MovieFone, Inc. (later acquired by AOL). Prior to that he served as an associate with private equity firm General Atlantic Partners and was a consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University. You can learn much more about Matt by reading his email marketing and entrepreneurship blog Only Once – one of the first CEO blogs on the Internet. Last year he wrote a book, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.

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