How do you respond to, "Oh, so you're a spammer"?
Recently, I was asked by a new acquaintance that always-fun ice breaker: "So, what do you do?" I told them that I was an Email Marketing Manager, and send emails that help educate people about my company. Of course, the follow-up question was, "Oh, so you're a spammer?" Sadly, this is not the first (or the last) time I've had to deal with this kind of condescending reponse, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one it's happened to.
I'm curious: What's your go-to reponse when you're confronted with someone who assumes that sending email=spamming? Do you take the high road and try to educate them about how awesome email marketing really is? Do you laugh it off and move on? For me, it depends on who I'm talking to; if I think they'll actually listen and understand my explanation of what email can really do, then I'll put in the effort. Otherwise, my stock reponse is to deadpan, "Wow, that is a brand new joke I've never heard before today. So funny." And then move the conversation along.
I can't remember where I read this but I always go with.
"Would you call a pharmacists a drug dealer?"
Probably works better over here in the UK than internationally.
I think that would translate here in the US, too. I'm adding that to my list of possible comebacks.
lol. I will use this response next time!
I'll tell them that the ROI of emailmarketing is $38 and suddenly they are interested :-)
You can't argue with data!
I just look them dead in the eye and say "I spam people".
Sometimes they laugh, usually it kills the conversation stone dead. Either way it separates the wheat from the chaff :-)
"Separates the wheat from the chaff"--that's a great way to put it!
Yes agree! See my comment below. It's a litmus test! hahahaha
I always prepare for this, but I feel like I more often get the reaction that people don't realize that someone is in charge of sending HTML emails. It's like they assume that some PR person just fills out a form or something. So, just explaining that yes it's a person's job usually gets across that I'm not a spammer, I guess. Usually, I'll quickly spin the conversation over to more technical details about gmail and outlook, that people still have aol addresses and testing for all the different clients. Then they at least act like email is interesting all of a sudden.
I like your approach, Dexter—there's definitely an education gap when it comes to email marketing.
I usually end up with some sort of education bit after admitting that I don't actually send spam, a short explanation of the difference and how to unsubscribe. :) Then I remind myself that I'm not a tax attorney, gynecologist or divorce lawyer so answering a few email related questions is genuinely not that bad. :D
Very true, there are worst jobs to have to explain.
It depends on the situation. If the person who said it is already drunk and just being obnoxious, then I can say something snarky like "oh, I'm not just a spammer. I'm a hacker, too!" and then walk away. But if it's a friend, I explain all about email marketing. Some people think that those emails are usually automated and they don't realize that these emails take careful planning and designing. Most people are actually interested once you explain to them what email marketing can actually do.
I would say "yes, I Send People Awesome Mail"
That used to happen to me a lot, and for a while I would just say that I was "in marketing." But it was instances when I was called a spammer that inspired the "I Used to Be Ashamed of Being in Email Marketing" post on the Litmus blog:
I feel that there's much for us as an industry to be proud of and that we shouldn't turn away from opportunities to educate people on how great our industry is!
Yes, we should take pride in what we do! We should let people know about how email marketing is different from spamming.
I say, "yep, I'm a spammer" Then I pull out my phone and say,"What was your email address again?"
"Yes, I send spam. Can I get your email address?"
Just laugh and then give their email address to every email marketer you know to put on every marketing list imaginable.
Hmmm, tempting, but I think it would only reinforce their attitude.
Well Erin, you're not alone :) I get this remark all the time from family, friends and anybody who ask in fact... If I'm up to start a long explanation I would try to describe what I do and how email marketing helps companies reaching out to their customers in a very cool way ... but some days I really want to avoid the "Oh, so you're a spammer"? thing, then I have to admit, I will simply respond - I'm web designer (or Marketing Manager) - period.
I hear you, some days I have the energy to discuss it, and some days I just want to avoid it altogether. Also depends on the social situation and person I'm talking to. If I think it's going to be too complicated to explain email marketing to them, I'll just say I work in marketing, and people are usually satisfied with that.
I find that a snarky sarcastic remark that agrees with their statement makes the follow up so much easier. Either they get it and laugh then it usually turns out to be a good conversation to find out about each other or they are taken aback and not sure what to say. The former are usually people who are fun to know, the latter, not so much.
One could say it's litmus test to sort out who I want to know. Yeah...I went there, haha!
Haha, points for making a "dad joke" there, Jason. I agree, making a joke about it can help gauge whether it's worth the time to explain to them what email marketing really is.
The only thing I can think of is asking them if they've ever received an email that they liked receiving. Inevitably their answer will be yes, and then you can say "well those are the kind of emails I send."
I can't really understand this logic though--seems like it would be coming from someone who doesn't use email at ALL.
I think that this is probably something that will hopefully soon burn out, as (hopefully) companies (like gmail) will start implementing better filters for what's spam and what isn't.
I just tell them, "careful what you say. You might just end up on our list."
I rarely hear this and more often hear "Oh, that's a job?" Seems like most people don't consider that email is so much its own wild beast that you have to have an entire person or team handling it. :)
"Nope. You sign up for the emails I build."
I just reply "Depends what you signed up to"
This was a fun thread of people explaining what they do (including my version as an email marketer): https://twitter.com/lovevalgeisler/status/1003995192544800768