How did a reputable family of brands (whose products I enjoy a little too much) annoy me into hitting the SPAM button?

In my webmail this week I received a couple of unexpected but welcome emails from a well-known drinks brand that I gave my address to in a pub some months ago.

Despite the time lag, I remembered I’d given permission and was interested to see what they had to offer.

However, as I’d received two identical emails from them and as a good email citizen, I pressed the unsubscribe button on one to help tidy up the database.

This presented an unsubscribe page with more fields in it than Norfolk.

In addition to mandatory postal address fields (why?), title, name and shoe size, the page listed not just the brand I was responding to but an additional eight brands owned by the same drinks group with four tick boxes for each.

That’s a total of 42 fields that need filling in – horrible!

And so I did the easier thing, which was hit the spam button.

We’re talking a lot about email CRM at the moment, whereby the customer’s experience at every point in the relationship needs to be considered carefully -and that should include the unsubscribe experience.

By law, we are required to keep unsubscribe procedure simple in any case, but from a commercial perspective, if you don’t allow your potential customer to leave easily, they’re unlikely to give you permission to email them again, or worse, classify you as spam.

My recommendation would be a much simpler process, which doesn’t ask for information customers may not want to give and has just one or two fields to fill in plus possibly an option to give feedback to a customer service team.

It may then be possible, if appropriate, to re-establish the relationship in a different way or at a later point.

No matter how well intentioned, 42 fields are never a good thing – unless you’re a farmer.


Michael Weston is the managing director of



Silverpop



.