As managing director of the eec, DMA’s email marketing arm, I was delighted to announce last week that we will be honoring two remarkable industry leaders: Zack Notes, Senior Analyst, UncommonGoods, will receive the Stefan Pollard Email Marketer of the Year Award; and our Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year Award goes to Dennis Dayman, Chief Privacy Officer, Oracle | Eloqua. This new award recognizes an industry leader who has made a substantial positive impact on the email marketing community as a whole, and/or on individual client(s).
Both awards will be presented during a special celebratory luncheon honoring the award recipients at the Email Evolution Conference, which will be held January 22-24, in Miami, Florida.
In this two-part series, we bring you some questions and answers with both honorees – to gain further insight into their outstanding work. In our last installment, we brought you thoughts and insights from Zack Notes. Today, we’ll hear from Dennis Dayman:
Q: How do you promote and advance best-practices within your work – with consumers, and with other businesses?
Dennis: The use of best practices is about saving and keeping digital channels, like email, as open as possible, without allowing it to fall into the hands of criminals or under the control of government. I believe best practices can be advanced most effectively by taking down the walls between providers and consumers; between companies and their competitors.
I aim to approach best practices with a broader view and an emphasis on the masses, not on a single entity, like myself or the company I’m representing. When all of the companies and participants in an industry work as a team, the speed of sharing this necessary information improves greatly. When promoting ideals, information, and best practices, I implore people to use the information to better their customers and the needs of their specific brand.
Our single platforms may be different in many ways, but best practices are designed to overcome these individual differences, allowing them to be both effective and influential, especially when our industry works together toward a common goal of safety and protection.
Q: What are some of the best ways you have found to foster trust among businesses and consumers?
Dennis: Fostering trust between businesses and consumers begins with the business granting choices and control to their consumers, especially concerning its products and services that are being used for data capture. This simple strategy allows businesses to start earning trust from their end-users. Once consumers see repeated respect for their privacy, they are more likely to provide the needed information to the business.
When businesses keep a privacy-centric focus, and keep the needs of the end- user in mind, trust is immediately built upon. When businesses are as truthful and timely with information regarding the end-users’ information during negative situations such as in data loss, the consumers tend to continually trust the business.
Q: How has the explosion of Big Data changed the way businesses do email marketing?
Dennis: Most of our current federal privacy laws predate the technologies that raise data privacy issues — such as behavioral advertising, location-based services, social media, mobile apps, and mobile payments. The move of commerce and content to the Internet has led to new abilities to collect, collate, use, and sell data, and new opportunities to use that data for innovative marketing and other services. Technology truly has created a new data environment.
The social media and mobile channels have allowed people to push out more personal information than ever before – no matter their time or location. Data collection is, therefore, easier than ever before. Determining what data is and isn’t useful, however, is more difficult.
I have joked that the simplest definition of “Big Data” is “If it doesn’t fit in an Excel spreadsheet, then its Big Data.” This is true for most people who wonder how to make the shift from a traditional approach of just a few small contact data points like email and phone numbers, to Big Data ones that now tell us all your Digital Body Language, like click and buying habits outside of the traditional email channel. Also, Big Data is what happened when the cost of storing information became less than the cost of making the decision to throw it away.
To be honest, I think the idea or confusion behind the term Big Data has caused problems in email marketing. People think there are a new set of ideals or processes in place to send out email marketing when in reality the oldest and simplistic processes of sending a relevant and targeted message still stands.
Big Data is still surrounded by a world of relevant marketing ideals and where we have access to modern marketing tools. We just have to decide what we really need to just send an email or connect socially without collecting to much information.
Q: How do you work to strike a balance between responsible marketing practices and preventing overly restrictive legislation that could stifle innovation?
Dennis: By giving that choice to the consumers and brands. Lets face it, you can’t change everyone’s minds overnight. Just like raising my twin sons: From time to time I have to let them fall and learn a lesson, especially when they just don’t want to listen the first time. To add to that, I can’t always be there to save them from the bumps in this road we call life. However, I can build good decision-making tools and a foundation so they can see the errors and making corrections when needed.
Now, I also can’t tell marketers how to run their businesses, but I can tell them the possible negative consequences if they continue down these wrong paths. Luckily, many listen the first time, but much of that is based on the cases that I make to them not just by saying something will be bad, but also showing them other people’s incorrect uses that got them in trouble. Learning from others’ mistakes as some say.
I also would say that history has shown that if and when restrictive legislation comes to light, we as an industry have always found new and innovative ways to continue the [responsible] data collection practices.
I will always be a supporter of less or no regulations, but sometimes we do need that sort of push to get us moving in the right direction. This was very apparent with the Can-Spam law here in the U.S. It didn’t ruin the digital marketplace for us, our lists didn’t get smaller, and not everyone went to jail for spamming. It actually put simple additional processes in place to help us gain the trust we needed from consumers when they gave us their email address. For me, part of my job is to talk to the regulators about innovation and also show them how the self-regulatory best practices do work today. What the regulators don’t see are the good use cases. They only hear about the bad ones.
Q: And finally, what does winning this award mean to you?
Dennis: I still have a grin on my face from the minute I found out about this award. I’m so honored and humbled to receive this accolade from my extended family and peers. I have to share this with all of you for being a part of those goals to ensure our digital channels are kept open and clean for all to use.
I love the fact that we’ve all worked together, even as competitors, to give clients and brands the best tools and advice to help them be as successful that they can be. This has been a huge team effort. Internal recognition to now acknowledge I was doing my job well and the hard work had paid off. It was also external recognition from the industry association that supported my efforts.
I won’t let this award define me. Instead, I will use it as inspiration and affirmation to keep writing, discovering, discussing, challenging, developing, honing my skills, and most of all continue helping others.
I have to close by saying enjoy the journey of life and your career path. It’s about the experience – and allow it to open your eyes to the greater experience of people and teamwork to benefit the many. Definitely get a lot out of your networking, day-in and day-out. Meet new people whenever you have the opportunity and let them do the talking from time to time. Get to know what they are passionate about. You never know that your paths may cross again in the future or as in my case, they become good family and friends.
Please let us know some of the ways YOU are bringing your passion to your business – and how you are using email to boost your success.