Thursday, February 14, 2008

Take my organs, send me emails

This month's editorial in Data Strategy starts with the simple sentence: "Gordon Brown supports opt-out".

The magazine is presumably supported by the direct marketing industry. Clearly, from an industry perspective, the larger the potential market then the more opportunity for marketers. A voluntary "opt-in" principle reduces the target size. So the magazine's encouragement of a default marketing-accepting position is perfectly understandable.

I'm reading from the printed copy in front of me, so apologies for limited direct quotation, but the deliberately provocative opening of the editorial was actually referring to the government suggestions towards implied consent for organ donation, and then compares that with the increasing permission-based requirements for marketing communication.

The common view on marketing strategy is quite clear: targeted communication is good, junk mail is bad. The editor's view on this is also quite clear, and he does not try to mislead the reader about the PM's views on the matter. I actually doubt that his view differs from the common one.

But the editorial also raises an interesting point: "In the legal world, precedent is all. So establishing an operating principle of opt-out can be taken as useful support if a new debate arises around data and permissions".

So presumed consent for organ donation might lead to presumed consent for direct mail?

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