I have long advocated that, core to one’s digital marketing strategy, one must focus on two components:

  • website (as a hub)
  • email list (for communications)

It’s a very simple story. With the spiralling costs of social media (it’s widely accepted that you now have to pay to play) and the changing nature of the media landscape (most recently on ad blocking), any brand or business that does not have the above two facets buttoned down and central to their program will struggle in their digital marketing strategy. That said, there are some eager beavers out there who try to cut corners and rush to get results. I like to call it Now I Gotcha marketing.

Gotcha Marketing

Gotcha Marketing

Gotcha Marketing

Gotcha Marketing is the mindset whereby marketers want to trap their visitor. Share on X For example, they might avoid having any outgoing links on their website for fear of having any visitors, heaven forbid, leave their site. A second approach that is awful and awfully common is the sneaky opt-in clausing. In other words, brand marketers think that they can efficiently and effectively capture more emails by framing the opt-in with deceptive tricks. Outside of the involuntary sign-up (where there has been no permission given whatsoever and is not legal in most countries), the worst offender is the single opt-out option.

The single opt-out option

By way of definitions, the opt-out is where you are asked to tick a box if you do not wish to receive communications. The single opt-out means that there is no email of confirmation to ensure that the recipient is in full agreement of the sign up. Below is an example of the type of gotcha tactics that, in my opinion, are poisonous when it comes to building trust. The sign up for this particular conference comes with a set of choices for various workshops. Once you have selected the workshop, there is a CONTINUE button. Underneath that, if you are not careful, you will surely miss the opt-out clauses for three different mailing lists.gotcha_marketing

Loss of respect

This type of marketing is foul for a number of reasons. From a brand perspective, with such deception, you are announcing that you are NOT respectful of privacy Share on X, despite (as in this case) claiming to be “committed to protect your personal information.” Secondly, the emails have a good chance of going directly into the spam bucket (especially if using a third-party software). Thirdly, if the person receives and opens the email and finds the content irrelevant, the brand will take a double hit in terms of brand trust and appreciation.

Gotcha marketing is a thing of desperation. It is a remnant of the old style of marketing where customers were prisoners to the TV programming. Share on X

It has no place in my life. Thus I call it out. Your comments are welcome!

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