Email Marketing 4

Unless you’ve been burying your head in the sand the past few years, you may have missed the news about mobile. The “mobile first” revolution has arrived. And it’s here to stay.

To boot, some 145 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (a 60.8 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in August, up 3 percent since May, according to the August 2013 comScore report. Translation: Nearly two out of every three Americans own asmartphone.


Now consider that email is the top activity on smartphones — ahead of browsing and even Facebook — and you have a huge opportunity to reach people with your email marketingmessages via the devices they are using most often.

However, email marketing hasn’t totally caught up with the mobile revolution. The majority of emails are still not optimized for mobile viewing and interaction. Buttons are small. Subscribers are forced to enlarge the screen and move things around to see the email. It’s just clunky.

But there is hope. The future is now for mobile-friendly email marketing. Here are seven tips to ensure your next email campaign is optimized for a mobile device.

1. Earn subscribers’ trust. 
When it comes to mobile, who the email is from becomes that much more important. What’s the first thing you see when scanning your inbox? Yup. The “From Name.” If subscribers don’t recognize who the email is from or don’t trust the sender, they are less likely to open the message.

If they don’t open your email, the rest of these tips don’t even matter. Earning that trust starts well before the first email. It also is not limited to email. Trust can be earned or lost on social media, offline and through other more traditional channels.

Related: How to Write Better Email Subject Lines

2. Really think about the subject line.
Along with the From Name, the subject line is critical. While your audience may not know who you are, a compelling and creative — or a direct and descriptive — subject line can be the difference between an open and a delete or ignore.

3. Don’t forget about the preheader. 
Sometimes called the snippet text, the preheader is the text that’s above the header image. On smartphones especially, it’s the first bit of text that’s viewable.

Instead of something boring like, “To view this email in you browser …” try putting some unique text there. Test clickable calls to action. Maybe even try using some humor.

4. Ensure your call to action is big and obvious. 
This is an important step, and not just for mobile-optimized emails. Make sure your call to action is big, bold and obvious.

When it comes to smartphones, real estate is at a premium. Subscribers will not search for your call to action. And sometimes smaller links are more difficult to click on, especially depending on the size of a person’s fingers.

Your call to action has to be in their faces. Make it clear, big and simple to click.

Related: 4 Ways to Get Customers to Open Your Emails

5. Consider responsive email design (RED). 
Ensuring the user experience is optimized regardless of platform and device is not a new concept on the web. But creating responsive-designed emails is something that is just starting to pick up steam.

This is becoming more important as more people own smartphones and use email as their main “app.” Creating a responsive-designed email template is not technically easy to do, but it’s something your email service provider or marketing automation vendor should be able to assist you with.

6. Include images. 
The majority of email clients on a smart phone — including the iPhone’s native Mail app — have images enabled by default. Sure, a person can go into the settings and turn them off, but most people don’t take this extra step.

So with images on by default, it’s important that you think about what imagery you’re using in your email marketing messages. Whether your audience is B2B or B2C is irrelevant. Images matter.

So instead of just dropping a random image into your email, consider using something that’s linked to the content. Put in a fun image, a different image and an eye-catching image.

7. Be aware of unsubscribe placement. 
I believe strongly marketers should learn the love the unsubscribe button. But with mobile devices, it’s important to consider where your unsubscribe link is in relation to other links in your email. Too often I’ve seen the unsubscribe link placed dangerously close to the main call to action. One wrong move and a loyal subscriber has opted out.

Above all, the best advice when it comes to ensuring your emails get opened on a smartphone is to test — test all of the tips mentioned above. After all, your audience is not my audience. Best practices are those that are best for your subscribers.


Tips about how to make your email marketing more mobile friendly. I give it a 4.5/5.


Email Marketing 3

Were he alive today, Mark Twain would probably have a soft spot for email because, much like the author himself, recent reports of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, email is not only alive—it’s the number one direct channel in terms of daily use and consumer preference for both personal and marketing communications.

 “67% of marketers say that delivering highly relevant content is a strategic goal their organization wants to achieve through email marketing.”

 MarketingSherpa, Email Benchmark Survey, 2013

Email is thriving thanks in large part to the channel’s familiarity, flexibility, and universality. A whole new generation of mobile smartphone and tablet users are also driving anywhere, anytime email usage. Indeed, when you dig into the data, any assertion that email is “dying” with consumers is laughable. Evolving—yes. Dying, absolutely not.

Listed below are what we believe to be the top ten tips to a powerful email marketing strategy. It starts with building a list, continues with data management, and ends at revenue generation.

1. Build an acquisition strategy
If you’ve prioritized audience growth, begin by analyzing the places where customers are already engaging with your brand. Then, determine how to enhance those experiences and drive interactive engagement with new tools and techniques. For example, always optimize acquisition forms for mobile. If a customer is on a tablet or smartphone and can’t fill out your form quickly and easily, you’re sure to lose the opt-in. For information about which audience growth strategies are working for marketers — and which ones aren’t — check out The Audience Growth Survey.

2. Optimizing for mobile is extremely important
For brands that do not optimize email for mobile, the penalty is stiff. Return Path points out that 63% of US consumers delete emails immediately if they are not optimized for mobile. Offer an elegant mobile experience from the start. If your initial welcome email is perfectly optimized for mobile, subscribers will know they’re in for a pleasant mobile experience for the duration of their time spent with your brand.

3. Your data should always be relevant
Assess your current data to make sure you’re sending targeted communications, not “batch and blast” messages. Using simple data points like gender and location can dramatically improve the subscriber experience. Similarly, on social media, use Facebook’s geo-targeting features with status updates. Strive to never regurgitate the same promotional messages on social media that you are using in email, as customers are looking for different information in each of those channels.

4. Personalize email whenever possible
Your website visitors, email, and mobile subscribers, and those who have connected with you on social media will appreciate your messages even more if they’re personalized. Inject personalized recommendations into marketing emails for the ultimate in one-to-one communications. For example, you can create a unique email containing personalized recommendations based on each subscriber’s browsing behavior on your website. Adding personalized recommendations into marketing emails can increase sales conversion rates by 15-25%, and click-through rates by 25-35%.

5. Email drives accessibility across-channels
The ability to easily archive and access messages at a later time influences consumer channel preferences. While smartphones and tablets replicate much of the desktop messaging experience, many consumers purposely “park” messages to take later action from their computers (which may have faster internet access, larger screens, full keyboards, etc.). Email remains a powerful channel for its ability to bridge the three-device environment of smartphone, tablet, and PC.

6. Get their permission to use it
Thanks to the good work of Seth Godin, the email channel is permanently linked with the concept of “permission marketing”—namely, that brands should first seek permission before sending customers email marketing messages. Once you receive permission the next step is personalization and building of data around the consumer.

7. Email drives deals
If you’re not making deals available via email, you are ignoring the largest, direct audience for this content. According to the 2012 Channel Preference Survey, people prefer email to Facebook for deals because it’s harder to miss deals in the inbox than it is in the waterfall of posts that is the News Feed. Use social networks to spread the word about your offers, and push consumers to your website for email subscription. At present, other approaches leave money on the table.

8. Sharing isn’t just for social networks
If your brand is emphasizing only that consumers share via social networks, you’re reaching just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface are the introverted, the private, and the cautious consumers who share content off your radar via email and word of mouth. These private sharers don’t get as much press as the “likers” and “retweeters” precisely because their activities cannot be seen publicly and they are difficult, if not impossible, to track. Private communications, however, are extremely valuable to brands, as a friend’s thoughtful personal endorsement will often realize a better response than one broadcast to thousands.

9. Did they abandon before they bought?
Tailor the frequency and number of abandoned cart emails to the purchase at hand, and that item’s typical purchase window. For example, some expensive purchases require more time to justify the spend, so the purchase window is larger. Conversely, an abandoned cart email about a heating or cooling system should be sent quickly to be helpful, as people with dysfunctional furnaces or air conditioning will likely want a quick solution. Pay attention to your industry’s typical purchase window, and send abandoned cart emails accordingly.

10. Automate your post-purchase messages
Automate a re-engagement campaign for a week, a month, and 90 days post-purchase. Determine the point when subscribers typically purchase from your brand again (or disengage), and start from there to personalize the send dates even further.

Email, in combination with a strong website and customer experience, forms a stable foundation for interactive marketing. Remember that your audience is made up of both smartphone owners and non-smartphone owners, so make sure your strategy accommodates both segments. Rather than relying on single sign-on products to gather opt-ins, build your own consumer database by gaining consumers’ permission through your website. Email’s ability to deliver targeted and exclusive content continues to make it a sound investment of your brand’s marketing energy to reach your audiences where they anticipate hearing from you.

I give it a 4.5/5.


Email Marketing 2

Email marketing is a great way to reach your customers where they are without spending a lot of money. But it’s a big responsibility, too—people don’t give their email addresses to just anyone. Thinking about starting a company newsletter? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Make it easy to subscribe. Post a signup form on your homepage, blog, Facebook page, and wherever else your customers and fans are already active. You might want to collect names and birthdays (for a special offer or gift) or invite readers to join groups, but don’t go crazy with the required fields. A too-long subscribe form might scare people off.


Tell subscribers what to expect. Whether you plan to send company updates, letters from the president, e-commerce sales, daily deals, or weekly tips, it’s important to tell your readers what to expect and how often to expect it. Give them as much information as possible on your signup form, so they can decide whether they want to be on the list or not.

Send a welcome email. It’s always smart to remind people why they’re on your list and reassure them that good things are in store. You might even send new subscribers a special offer or exclusive content, as your way of thanking them for their loyalty.

Design your newsletter to fit your brand. Your email campaigns should match your brand’s look and feel. If you’re using a template, you might want to customize it to include your company’s colors and logo in the header. If your emails are consistent with the rest of your company’s content, then readers will feel more familiar from the start.

Make it scannable. Your subscribers are busy people who get a lot of email, so it’s safe to assume you don’t have their undivided attention. Instead of one long block, break up your content into short paragraphs. Include subheadings and images to guide readers through your email and make it easier to scan, and add a teaser to the top of your newsletter to tell subscribers what’s in store. If you’re sending a long article, consider inserting a “read more” link so people can get to the rest when it’s convenient for them. Your subject line should be to-the-point and easy to digest, too. You might even want to a/b test subject lines to see which ones perform best.

Send people content they want. Email newsletter services offer features like groups and segmentation to help you make your content relevant to the people reading it. If you’re sending different emails for different groups (for example, a nonprofit might send separate emails to volunteers, donors, and the board of directors), then you can ask people to check a box to join a particular group on your signup form. Segmentation allows you to target certain subscribers on your list without assigning them to group. If your store is having a sale, then you could send a campaign only to people near a particular zip code, because subscribers who live in other parts of the world don’t need to know about it. You can also segment by activity, email clients, e-commerce data, and more. Sending relevant content will keep your readers engaged, and engaged readers look forward to your newsletter and share it with friends.

Keep a publishing calendar. A regular newsletter is a commitment. If you go several months without sending anything, then your subscribers will forget about you, and they’ll be more likely to delete the next email, or worse, mark it as spam. Make time to plan, write, design, and send your newsletters regularly.

Edit. Even editors need editors. When you’re working on your publishing calendar, leave plenty of time for the editing and revision process. Once you send a campaign, it goes straight to the inbox, and you can’t go back and update it. Newsletters contain meaningful content, and sloppy ones reflect poorly on the companies who send them. Grammar and style are just as important for email as they are for websites and blogs.

Test. Different email clients and mobile devices display emails differently. Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens big and small. Testing reveals design mistakes before it’s too late, and testing programs can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing. Avoid sending one big image as a campaign, and cover your bases with a plain-text option for every email.

Think about mobile. If a campaign doesn’t show up on mobile devices, it’s not going to perform very well. Everything you send should be mobile-friendly. Check out ReturnPath’s “Email in Motion” infographic for some data that might affect the way you design your emails. One of the highlights: According to the study, 63 percent of Americans and 41 percent of Europeans would either close or delete an email that’s not optimized for mobile. Might be time to start using a responsive template.

Know your spam rules. A lot of innocent people send spam because they didn’t know any better. Read up on the CAN-SPAM act to avoid any trouble. Put simply, you’re allowed to send bulk email only to people who specifically asked to be on your mailing list. If you collected email addresses for a lunch giveaway or an event invitation, then you don’t have permission to send marketing emails unless you made that clear at signup. Include an obvious unsubscribe link in every email, and don’t forget to remind subscribers how they got on your list in the first place.

Make it shareable. Send content that people want to share, and make it easy for them to do it. Sure, subscribers can forward your campaign to friends, but that’s a lot to ask. Include a public link to the web version of your campaign so people can read it outside of their email programs, and consider adding Twitter and Facebook links to your newsletter, so readers can share your content where they’re already active. When their friends start sharing and subscribing, you’ll know it’s working.

Keep an eye on your stats. Most email newsletter services offer free reports that contain helpful information. Learn how to read and understand your reports, so you can use the stats to improve your campaigns going forward. Pay attention to your open and click rates, and identify any patterns that make those numbers go up or down. If a campaign receives a high number of unsubscribes, then try something different the next time.

Be friendly. Feel free to use a casual tone in your email newsletters. Since most emails come directly from one person, people expect human voices in their inboxes. There’s a good chance your subscribers are already in a informal frame of mind when they’re checking their email, so an overly formal or stodgy voice might seem out of place. Plus, they’ve given you their email address, so you’re already on a first-name basis. If you collect first names on your signup form, you can dynamically include them in your email greetings.


Only send email if you have something to say. This one seems obvious, but too many companies start email newsletters with no plan and nothing to say. Email is simply a way to publish content—the content itself has to come first. Before starting a newsletter, make sure it’s a sustainable commitment that will help you achieve your business goals. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your subscribers’ time and your own time. Ask yourself: What’s the goal for this kind of communication? What do we have to say? How will we measure success? Send thoughtful newsletters, and keep the focus on your company’s message.


I give it a 4/5.


Email Marketing 1

We’ve all been there …

You’ve carefully crafted an email. You’ve polished each sentence. You’ve racked your brain for the very best subject line.

You hit publish with a sigh of relief. That’s done.

But when you look at your email stats, you notice that the opens aren’t as good as you’d hoped, and the click-throughs are disappointing. It’s depressing.

Does it feel like a big challenge to get people to open and read your emails? And then to go on to click through?

It doesn’t really need to be so hard. You’re about to learn the most important advice I’ve found for writing emails that get opened, read, and clicked.


How to create emails that are eagerly anticipated

Quick question:

Which email do you look forward to receiving most: an email from your best friend or an email from a massive corporation? And which of those two emails do you prefer to read?

Easy choice, isn’t it?

So, when you’re emailing your list, what do you do? Do you write as if you’re addressing a huge, faceless crowd of people? Do you write just like a massive corporate marketing department would?

If you want your subscribers to look forward to your emails, you should consider behaving more like a friend.

You know, like, and trust your friends … right?

Try toning down that corporate look, and create a more minimalist email design. Write in a conversational, respectful voice.

Follow these 8 essential rules for friendly, eagerly anticipated emails …

  1. Stop talking about your list. Stop talking about subscribers. Write as if you’re emailing one person only. It instantly makes your emails more personal.
  2. Quit wasting people’s time. Only email when you have something truly valuable or helpful to say.
  3. Be useful. Don’t just email when you need something from your readers. Be helpful. Be generous. Be friendly. Be like real friend.
  4. Use your actual name as your from address. Put your name and reputation on the line. That’s more personal isn’t it?
  5. Be trustworthy. Let people know what to expect. Yes, sales messages should be part of your email marketing, that’s fine. Just be clear about it when they sign up.
  6. Don’t be creepy. Feel free to personalize emails, but don’t repeat people’s name too often, because it makes you sound like a call center script.
  7. Be on their side. Remind people that they’re not alone. Tell them you understand their struggles. Empathize with them, and ask how you can help.
  8. Give people a reward for readingMake sure people benefit from reading your emails. How? Share a useful tip. Make them feel better. Inspire them.

How to get your emails opened

Most inboxes are congested — filled to the brim with uninteresting, boring emails.

Your emails are easily drowned out in overflowing, noisy inboxes across the world. And Gmail tabs have made it even more difficult to get noticed.

How do you write appealing subject lines that make you stand out … that seduce people to open your emails?

Email subject lines need to attract attention, just like headlines do. Here are a few tips on that:

  1. Promise something good. If people know specifically what they’ll learn or how exactly you’ll make them happier, more informed, or better at business, they’ll be itching to read more.
  2. Use power words. Sensory and emotional words attract attention, and make your subject lines stand out in crowded inboxes.
  3. Use a number. Because digits — like 4 or 37 — stop wandering eyes.
  4. Pique curiosity. Don’t be afraid to occasionally use bizarre words. Tickle the information gap, or violate the information gap. Your readers will be keen to find out more.
  5. Point out common mistakes. Because nobody wants to be perceived as silly.
  6. Quit cleverness. Simple, specific subject lines beat clever alternatives every time.
  7. Experiment. Be a rebel and try something new. Dare to be different. You’ll be surprised by what works and what doesn’t.
  8. Learn from the masters. Subscribe to excellent email lists and analyze their subject lines. You’re guaranteed to learn something.
  9. Stop following meaningless stats like optimal subject line length. No average reader exists. Build a real relationship so your readers anticipate your emails and they’ll open them because they recognize your name — even when your subject line sucks.

How to write engaging emails

So, you’ve got people to open your emails. Now what? How do you keep their attention? How do you keep them reading your emails word for word?

Follow these 11 tips for emails that will captivate your readers:

  1. Write fast. Because that’s how your enthusiasm and personality come through.
  2. Keep it short. Edit your emails with rigor. Long and unwieldy emails slaughter your readers’ interest. Challenge yourself to cut your text by half next time you edit.
  3. Ask questions. Imagine having a face-to-face conversation with your reader. You’d ask questions in that situation, wouldn’t you?
  4. Don’t follow a strict formula. Blueprinted emails quickly bore the boots off your readers.
  5. Add a personal touch. Because you’re trying to get readers to know, like, and trust you, aren’t you?
  6. Don’t automate your greeting. Try warm wishesbest regards, or greetings from sunny England. Mixing up your greetings makes you less robotic, and more personal.
  7. Use the word you. Because it’s one of the most persuasive words in the English language.
  8. Develop a natural voice. Stop thinking about email marketing. Consider your emails to be a way of talking to your customers or readers.
  9. Add personality. Use words and expressions only you can use. Be human.
  10. Stop being dull. Understand the telltale signs of boring writing. Write short, strong sentences. Be to the point. And break high school rules.
  11. Quit being selfish. Don’t be cold-hearted. Genuinely care about your readers.

How to sell in your emails

You’re not just writing emails for fun, are you? As a business owner you have to sell to stay in business (whether you like it or not).

So what’s the best way to sell without selling your soul?

Follow these 9 tips to convert more email readers into buyers:

  1. Don’t sell before the prospect is ready. Become a friend and trusted sourceof information first; and your readers will more readily buy from you.
  2. Highlight benefits. Don’t sell your product. Instead, sell the benefit it offers your customer.
  3. Show what readers will miss. Most people are risk averse. They want to avoid inconveniences, glitches, and complications. Consider rephrasing the benefits of your offer as a problem you’ll help to avoid.
  4. Don’t follow a strict formula. Because formulaic emails sound robotic and are boring as heck.
  5. Work toward your aimTell interesting stories that lead to your sales message.
  6. Present a clear deadlineIt prevents people from procrastinating.
  7. Insert multiple links (to the same page). Because it increases your chances of people clicking that link.
  8. Have an impeccably clear call to action. Tell your readers exactly what you expect them to do next, and remind them why it’s in their best interest to buy.
  9. Use the power of the PS. Remind people of a deadline. Or repeat what they stand to lose if they don’t take up your offer.

The harsh truth about your emails

Everyone’s inbox is overflowing. Nobody is keen to receive more email.

You should be honored that people have opted into your list and are happy to receive your messages. Each subscriber has given you a hard-earned vote of confidence.

But be careful. Never take anyone’s attention for granted. Because everyone’s time is precious.

Week in week out, you have to prove your value to your email subscribers. Know your readers so well that you can empathize with their struggles. Ask questions. And offer help.

Write as if you’re emailing one good friend, because that’s how people will get to know you, like you, and trust you.

When you’ve earned those three things, you’ve earned the ability to push send and grow your business.

I give it a 4.5/5.


Legal, Ethics and Privacy 4



1. This Chapter applies to any marketing activity undertaken or authorized by a lawyer in which he or she is identified as a lawyer, mediator or arbitrator.

[amended effective 05/1998]


2. In this Chapter:

“lawyer” includes a member of the Law Society, and a person enrolled in the Law Society Admission Program; and

“marketing activity” includes any publication or communication in the nature of an advertisement, promotional activity or material, letterhead, business card, listing in a directory, public appearance or any other means by which professional legal services are promoted or clients are solicited.

[amended effective 01/2000; amended 10/2004; 05/2009]

3. [rescinded 05/2009]


4. Any marketing activity undertaken or authorized by a lawyer must not be:

(a) false,

(b) inaccurate,

(c) unverifiable,

(d) reasonably capable of misleading the recipient or intended recipient, or

(e) contrary to the best interests of the public.

[amended 05/2009]


4.1 and 4.2  [rescinded 05/2009]


5. For example, a marketing activity violates Rule 4 if it:

(a) is calculated or likely to take advantage of the vulnerability, either physical or emotional, of the recipient,

(b) is likely to create in the mind of the recipient or intended recipient an unjustified expectation about the results which the lawyer can achieve, or

(c) otherwise brings the administration of justice into disrepute.

[amended effective 01/2000; amended 11/2002; 05/2009]
6.  [moved to Chapter 4, Rule 8 and Chapter 8, Rule 23  05/2009]

6.1  [moved to Chapter 8, Rule 24  05/2009]

7 and 7.1  [moved to Law Society Rule 2-54  05/2009]


7.2 A lawyer must not state on any letterhead or business card or in any other marketing activity the name of a judge or master as being a predecessor or former member of the lawyer’s firm.

[added effective 05/1998]


8. A lawyer who, on any letterhead, business card or sign, or in any other marketing activity:

(a) uses the term “Notary,” “Notary Public” or any similar designation, or

(b) in any other way represents to the public that the lawyer is a notary public,

must also indicate in the same publication or marketing activity the lawyer’s status as a lawyer.

[amended 10/2004]

9.  [rescinded 05/2009]


10. A lawyer must not list a person not entitled to practise law in British Columbia on any letterhead or in any other marketing activity without making it clear in the marketing activity that the person is not entitled to practise law in British Columbia.

In particular, a person who fits one or more of the following descriptions must not be listed without an appropriate indication of the person’s status:

(a) a retired member,

(a.1) a non-practising member,

(b) a deceased member,

(c) an articled student,

(d) a legal assistant or paralegal,

(e) a patent agent, if registered as such under the Patent Act,

(f) a trademark agent, if registered as such under the Trade-marks Act,

(g) a practitioner of foreign law, if that person holds a valid permit issued under Law Society Rule 2-18, or

(h) a qualified member of another profession, trade or occupation, provided that the lawyer and the other person are members of a multi-disciplinary practice (MDP)1 permitted under the Rules.

[amended 03/1994; updated 12/1999; amended 06/2001; 05/2009;
amended 12/2009, effective 07/2010]

11 to 13.1, 14 and 15.  [rescinded 05/2009]


16. A lawyer may state in any marketing activity a preference for practice in any one or more fields of law if the lawyer regularly practises in each field of law in respect of which the lawyer wishes to state a preference.

[amended effective 01/2000; amended 05/2009]

17.  [rescinded 05/2009]


18. Unless otherwise authorized by the Legal Profession Act, the Rules, or this Handbook or by the Benchers, a lawyer must:

(a) not use the title “specialist” or any similar designation suggesting a recognized special status or accreditation in any marketing activity, and

(b) take all reasonable steps to discourage use, in relation to the lawyer by another person, of the title “specialist” or any similar designation suggesting a recognized special status or accreditation in any marketing activity.

[amended effective 01/2000; amended 05/2009]

19.  [moved to Law Society Rule 3-20  05/2009]

20 and 21.  [rescinded 05/2009]


22. When engaged in marketing of real property for sale or lease, a lawyer must include in any marketing activity:

(a) the name of the lawyer or the lawyer’s firm, and

(b) if a telephone number is used, only the telephone number of the lawyer or the lawyer’s firm.

[added 10/2004]


23. Unless permitted to practise law in an MDP under the Law Society Rules, a lawyer must not, in any marketing activity

(a) use the term multi-disciplinary practice or MDP, or

(b) state or imply that the lawyer’s practice or law firm is an MDP.

[added 12/2009, effective 07/2010]

24. A lawyer practising law in an MDP must ensure that all marketing activity for the firm indicates that the firm is an MDP.

[added 12/2009, effective 07/2010]

Some laws about marketing in BC. I give it a 5/5.


Legal, Ethics and Privacy 3

The Federal Trade Commission held a workshop last month to discuss the challenges of native advertising, where companies pay to have editorial-style content (or links to that material) featured online, in lieu of traditional advertisements. The big issue is finding ways to mark the difference between traditional editorial and advertiser-presented content, so that readers can know whether or not the content is being featured because of a paid relationship.

Not long ago, most ad content focused on hawking products and services: marketing documents, sales collateral, advertisements and press releases. The idea that companies would dedicate marketing budgets to content that audiences might find useful is a great transformation.

Companies are starting to think of themselves as publishers of information, insights and entertainment tied to issues that they care most about. This shift carries the potential for companies to be more committed to listening to, connecting with and ultimately serving their customers (and other audiences that might see the material). And customers can see, rather than just be told about, a company’s knowledge, passion and commitment to the issues its products and services are meant to solve.

Most importantly, new channels allow companies to reach their audiences when, and how, the audience members prefer, with information that serves their wants and needs

Sadly, most companies are making little use of this opportunity. Rather than change the logic by which we view and communicate with our audiences, professionals in public relations, advertising and marketing are largely finding new ways to do what they’ve always done: design content that promotes products and services. More troubling than that, companies are misusing the opportunities that are presenting themselves.

For instance, a bright light has been shone on the ways in which companies have paid for inauthentic endorsements and other forms of “astroturfing” (fake grassroots content), from the New York State attorney general’s crackdown on fabricated Yelp reviews to a long line of stories before it.

That’s why governing organizations like the Federal Trade Commission are concerned, as companies increasingly create content that blurs the traditional distinctions between marketing and publishing. The FTC has previously provided disclosure guidelines on how those who endorse a company or its products or services should be transparent when a material relationship exists between that person and the company. But even if the FTC eventually does decide to take action, it will work to establish the minimum of what constitutes proper transparency.

Marketers have to think in larger terms, not just about what is legally required, but what best serves the audience that the company is seeking to reach and what is the ethical imperative for our industry. We can’t turn to the government to define what constitutes best practices.

These are issues that industry organizations like the Word of Mouth Marketing Association have spent years focused on. They help define what the “gold standard” of disclosure should be and advocate that marketers take seriously the reputational damage they do to themselves when they don’t take the necessary steps to ensure that they and all their employees/partners are taking great care in being transparent. (And, in that spirit, I should mention that I am co-chair of the association’s ethics committee.)

I’m grateful that the FTC and others are helping raise the profile of this conversation. Now, it’s up to us as marketing professionals to answer the challenge of defining an ethical standard for transparency in so-called “content marketing” that goes beyond questions of legality, and to realize that taking every care to protect our audiences is, in the long run, the best way to ensure that we are also protecting our own organizations’ reputation.

I give it a 3/5.


Legal, Ethics and Privacy 2

1. Mobile tracking beacons proliferate.

Retailers and restaurants are tracking shopper movements as mobile tracking technologies like Apple’s iBeacon proliferate. “Low-cost transmitters that rely on Bluetooth technology, like Apple’s iBeacon, allow retailers to precisely track shoppers’ mobile phones and send highly targeted content tied to location and shopping habits,” explains JWT. “The beacons have great potential beyond retail: Museum visitors, for instance, could get tours tailored to their meanderings. Major League Baseball has tested iBeacons as a way to guide stadium visitors and send concession offers.”

“Logic will only infrequently determine what people will consider creepy and overly invasive versus reasonably acceptable,” said Ms. Mack. “Often there is a gut reaction against practices that don’t appear to tread heavily on personal privacy — for instance, tracking shoppers in aggregate rather than as individuals — while conversely, consumers have so far broadly accepted tech devices and services that carry significant privacy implications.”

“People have shown only limited wariness regarding the ways that mobile devices and apps can impinge on privacy, for instance, and thus far greater resistance to offline than online tracking,” she continued. “Plan for emotion-driven reactions that may seem inconsistent or altogether illogical.”

2. Commerce gets intelligent and ambient.

“As more ‘smart,’ sensor-connected objects hit the marketplace, brands will seek to offer instant gratification by way of “ambient commerce,” says JWT. Sensor-connected objects will enable “ambient commerce,” what the agency defines as “anticipating consumer needs and wants, and providing goods and services automatically.” As an example JWT cites John Sheldon, eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions head of strategy: “using the Nike+ app to ensure that a new pair of running shoes arrives whenever the customer reaches 300 miles of usage.”

3. Google Glass etiquette emerges.

Accompanying the hype around Google Glass this year was an undercurrent of privacy concerns. “Since Google Glass wearers can easily photograph or record what they’re seeing, quietly access information from the web or get distracted by a stream of digital information, good manners will dictate removing them in various intimate, social or business contexts,” notes the JWT report.

4. Hackers target the household.

Do we need virus protection and hacking safeguards for our cars and kitchen appliances? JWT thinks we will soon. “As more objects evolve into tech-infused smart devices with interactive functionality, they’ll become newly vulnerable to hackers. Cars, for instance, could become moving targets, creating havoc,” states the agency list. “The home is the most at-risk sphere, as home security systems and smart TVs are relatively easy to compromise. As manufacturers work to bolster security, expect more consumer education on this topic.”

5. Kids get added privacy protections.

Data privacy wonks are well aware of regulatory and legislative efforts to protect privacy, particularly for kids. But JWT suggests marketers need to have such issues on their radar, too: “A new California law requires websites to provide a way for teens in the state to remove any photos, videos, recordings and comments they have posted. A Do Not Track Kids Act introduced in the U.S. Congress in 2013 includes provisions for an ‘eraser button’ that would let kids or their parents delete public-facing online information. In Europe, EU legislators are pushing for the ‘right to be forgotten’ for people of all ages.”

“Now that the ability to leverage data is becoming a key competitive advantage, marketers are looking to learn as much as they can about consumers, who in turn are growing more aware of and anxious about their eroding anonymity,” said Ms. Mack. “Lawmakers are considering where to draw the lines. Navigating this landscape will require extreme sensitivity, a close reading of customer attitudes, adherence to emerging best practices and a very finely calibrated use of the new services at companies’ disposal.”

6. Consumers become aware of their ‘metadata.’

Another word that gained prominence in common parlance this year was “metadata.” JWT describes metadata as “our digital footprints: when, where and to whom we make calls or send emails, for instance, as opposed to the content of those calls or emails.” The report predicts, “Consumers will become more aware of how much their metadata can reveal.”

7. Privacy becomes a key focus of product design.

“Privacy by Design” is another term often used in the privacy community that marketers may want to learn. JWT notes that the concept refers to “a framework developed by Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s commissioner of information and privacy. Seven key principles include embedding privacy into the design of IT systems and business practices, and taking a positive-sum rather than a zero-sum approach that avoids ‘unnecessary tradeoffs.'”

8. Digital privacy services go mainstream.

“Some services ensure more private communications, like the encrypted-messaging platforms Cryptocat and PixelKnot or the instant-erase apps Wickr and Frankly,” states JWT, noting examples of the emerging sector providing digital privacy protection services. “ creates data lockers that let users control how much of their information is accessible to companies. The Respect Network is a personal cloud network that allows people to ‘safely store and share personal data with other people and businesses.’ The open-source Locker Project enables developers to integrate personal data lockers into their applications.”

9. Vending machines will recognize faces.

Facial-recognizing vending machines exist today, and JWT suggests they’re not going away. “These capabilities enable the machines to accept credit card or mobile payments and interact with consumers in various ways. Beyond simple marketing messages, they open the door to game-based promotion, sampling, social media sharing, facial recognition and other unique features.”

10. Techno paranoia will grow in 2014.

Along with all the fascination around new technologies comes increased worry about privacy invasion. JWT’s list recognizes this as a distinct trend, too, implying marketers should expect some people to opt-out from most data collection when given the opportunity: “As more sci-fi visions of the future start coming to fruition — self-driving cars, billboards that recognize us, remotely controlled homes and so on — a growing number of people will become wary of technology. While not full-blown Luddites, this cohort will develop a paranoia around tech and opt out wherever practical, thanks to fears of worst-case scenarios: Big Brother-style invasion of privacy, hackers wreaking havoc, etc.”

This article demonstrates the 10 trends in privacy in marketing in 2014. I give it a 4/5.