There are some conspiracy buffs who hypothesize that the new Canadian Anti Spam Legislation has an underlying purpose. Normally we would not give any credence to conspiracy theories of any kind, but in this instance it makes sense.
The theory is that while on the surface, CASL purports to be aimed at cleaning up mass emails that clutter up everybody’s inbox. (or SPAM filter, for anyone with a computer that is less than 10 years old), when in point of fact, it’s a subtle attempt to move business back into something called direct mail.
Direct Mail…Remember It?
In the days before emails and SPAM, direct mail was considered to be one of the more effective means of both business to consumer and business to business communications. Imagine a package addressed to a real person being placed right on their desk or in their home mail box.
The creativity that powered these pieces was, in many cases, both innovative and alluring. The depth of sale that these pieces where capable of generating was prodigious to say the least. The recipient was told a whole story. Not just a tantalizing lead in with all the added effort of clicking a read more or clicking through to a landing page or download.
It was beautiful. It was elegant. And considering the response (10-12%)that could be generated from a well designed and well written direct mail piece, it was an excellent value from a cost perspective as well, and vastly superior to email marketing.
The SPAM Revolution
As email marketing took hold, and the SPAM revolution began, digital marketers did a hell of a job in convincing advertisers that this was the new way to go. While it saved clients a considerable amount of printing and postage, it permanently altered the advertising landscape, putting printers, list brokers and fulfillment houses, not to mention Canada Post in a great deal of $$$ pain.
The adverse effect this had on many sectors of Canadian Business, coupled with the incredible onslaught of unwanted emails from an email marketing industry that was still trying to develop into something measurable, were, as the conspiracy purports, the principal ingredients in the decision to launch an all encompassing anti-spam legislation.
Conspiracy theory or not, Canadian business has been propelled back in time
to the ‘pre-email’ environment. If you think hard for a moment or two about the downside risks of being reported for non-compliant mass emailing, all of a sudden, legal marketing tools with measurable results quotients start to look very appealing.
People like me, who started their communications careers in the advertising agency and direct marketing business are what’s known as ‘hybrids’. We understand the digital world and have worked extensively in it. But we just don’t believe that it is the be all and end all of modern communications.
Unlike people who create digital communications and , by and large, have virtually no experience with nor any in-depth knowledge of how to put a good direct mail program together, hybrid communicators do.
Email databases in every sector of Canadian business have been decimated by CASL. They will be rebuilt again, but no one knows how long that will really take. In the interim, tools like direct mail and conventional media advertising are quickly taking on a renewed importance.
And hybrid communicators, in many business sectors, are finding that our depth of experience in offline media is going through a re-birth of interest.
If your company is currently grappling with the issues of marketing outside the mass email realm, we should talk. My expertise in the direct marketing area will help you keep your business alive and kicking through this crisis and far beyond.
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‘Small Business Communications For The Real World’