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You Don't Know I Want to Go

December 23, 2008  

In a post at the Email Wars blog, Dylan Boyd discusses the tricky status of permission-based email lists following a corporate merger or acquisition. "[H]ow does a company go about changing permissions from one brand to another?" he asks. Boyd got a front-row view of one such hand-off when a company recently found itself in just such a situation. He describes their outreach to subscribers: 

"They started a … series of email campaigns [making it] clear that a transition was under way," says Boyd. Three separate messages alerted subscribers to the fact that permission would pass from one brand on a certain date. Not just one, three. "I love three's, as I believe that it takes more than one touch to call it a campaign and make an impact," Boyd notes.

He disagrees, however, with the opt-out option these messages offered. "I would have rather seen them go above board and state that unless you re-opted in then you would be removed from this new brand list," he suggests.

The problem, he says, is this: Since most of the messages probably went unread or partially read, when offers from the new brand start appearing, subscribers will be confused or—worse—assume it's spam and flag it as such. "Now what value does this in the end pass to the acquiring company?" asks Boyd. "Not much at all."

The Po!nt: Don't assume they want to go.  Requesting subscriber opt-in with any new list change is good customer service—and a best practice that pays off in the long run.

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