Aug 28, 2004

gmail and marketer control

Why are marketers so afraid of gmail?

So Al DiGuido, CEO of Bigfoot Interactive, a successful email services agency, had a piece in this week’s ClickZ titled Do You Gmail?, in which he advised marketers to consider refusing to send email to customers with addresses. As DiGuido explains it, the fear is that companies who have spent dear resources on customer acquisition will have their messages delivered alongside contextual ads for competitive products and services.

A major credit card issuer excels at attracting a particular market segment. Gmail offers that company’s envious competitors the opportunity to specifically and efficiently target that issuer’s customers with contextual ads. The marketer spent millions growing this segment; should it be protected?

Now, given the overall noise in the market, and the challenging signal/noise ratio in the email channel in particular, one would think that marketers would be looking for any invitation to communicate directly with their customers. How could a marketer even think about disrepecting a customer’s choice of email domains by refusing to send them email? If your relationship with your customer is so tenuous that you’re worried about contextual text ads inside gmail having a significant impact on your customer lifetime value equation, then maybe you shouldn’t be emailing that customer in the first place.