Email Insider Summit Email Append Panel – The day’s hottest debate!

I had the pleasure of joining one of the most anticipated panel discussions during the Friday session of last week’s Email Insider Summit.  The topic was “E-Append: Good, Bad, or Other?” and I was joined by Jordan Cohen (VP Business Development, Pontiflex), Andrew Kordek (Chief Strategist, Trendline Interactive), and Suzanne Shaughnessy (Sr Account Executive, Fresh Address).  Eric Kirby (CEO, Connection Engine) moderated our spirited panel and started the discussion with a single question – “Is email append ok to do?”  Jordan started by noting that the process lacks clear permissioning, and violates M3AAWG, ISP, and ESP policies.  Andrew contested that if done well, the process could be a profitable acquisition method.  This is my perspective on e-Append:

Non-permissioned acquisition methods prime a program for problems. The typical e-Append process includes an opt-out email invitation to matched subscribers.  This passive process fails to set clear expectations or provide the subscriber with an active subscription choice, and doesn’t do enough to protect the marketer from acquiring bad data.

A Marketer needs a lot of time, patience, and resources to manage Appended data. To do it “right”, addresses acquired by e-Append need to be introduced in a methodical way.  This essentially means keeping the data quarantined and merging it slowly with your database and sending specific introductory messages.  Time and resources is the #1 reason marketers don’t implement simple changes (like adding a welcome message or a win-back campaign) – – so hand-holding data isn’t realistic.

Deliverability is dynamic, so marketers must be pro-active, not re-active. Every action you take as a sender impacts your reputation – and your ability to achieve inbox delivery success.  Mailing to just one segment of data that contains high unknown users and spam traps can plague your program for weeks or even months.  Understanding that symbiotic relationship is not enough – you must be thoughtful and intentional in your approach to maintain your good-sender strategy.

Your email program is not valid collateral for the Vegas Craps Table. There is always that chance – that slim percentage of success that can be yours.  But, at the end of the day, the gamble doesn’t often pay off.  Don’t be willing to bet your program’s health and reputation on the slight chance that your e-Append data partner is upstanding, your matched subscribers really want your mail (they just haven’t subscribed on their own yet), and your integration process is different.  There are a lot more folks in Vegas that have hit it big and lost it all, than there are profitable winners.

Did you attend the Email Insider Summit?    If not, you can watch the recording here.  What is your stance on e-Append?

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