CASL Review - Is CASL Working?

Section 65 of CASL calls for the review of the law in 3 years from the date of enforcement which is responsible and makes sense given the speed of technology and change in the marketplace. So Minister Bains and the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Department has requested the Standing Committee (INDU) conduct a thorough review, which they are in the process of doing. 

So let's be clear:
The current CASL Review is NOT because CASL is not working as many would have you believe. It is because it was called for by an Act of Parliament passed in 2010, that came into force July 1, 2014.

There are two sides in this debate:
1. those who believe the sky is falling and CASL must be struck down and defeated because it is making it difficult for major brands to do business. Those "legitmate" businesses who send millions of emails per day, every day. "They are not the SPAMMERS. They only ever send relevant messages to people they have consent from." Really!? The definition of SPAM is "UNWANTED messages" and I doubt that many of those legitimate brands are only sending "wanted messages". 
2. those who believe email marketing had to be saved as a marketing tool because business people just cannot help ourselves. Many consumers have stopped even opening most of their email. Given an almost free tool with almost free access, what did you expect? We're marketers. Without CASL (a set of email best practices) we would just continue inundating our prospect sand customer with irrelevant content because it is inexpensive and "you never know". And they would ignore more and more - eventually abandoning email for good because "legitimate businesses" ruined their experience of checking their inbox.

CASL is actually working according to many,  including CAUCE - the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email.  

We have seen it with our members. Those who have put in proper compliance programs (it is not really as difficult as many make it out to be). Yes, their lists are smaller (thank goodness and I know your inbox thanks CASL) but email marketing should NEVER have been a numbers game. It is NOT and never should have been used as a mass marketing tool.  

email marketing should NEVER have been a numbers game

To use email marketing as an awareness/advertising tool is just plain dumb given the multitude of tools at our disposal in today's traditional and digital advertising world. This happened because, as marketers we are CHEAP.  We need to get the most from the least dollars invested. We are "too clever by half" as my good friend John Mykystyshyn would say.

Email marketing appeared to be a good way to reach a lot of people with our message, "even if they NEVER opened a single message from us" - can someone please explain that to me slowly so I understand it? Until every "legitimate business" and the "malicious spammers" - Black Hat organizations, were sending messages to that one individual inbox. The collective mass of unwanted email has overwhelmed many into ignoring their inbox.

Unfortunately this negates the email messages an individual does want and perhaps even values, but the SPAMMERS (yes, I could be talking to you even if you do not send messages about Nigerian Princes) have ruined the medium for us all. Individual's inboxes were completely out of their control. 

CASL is designed to return the power of an individual's inbox back to the individual.

Should marketers ever have simply assumed it was theirs to use as they please?

Had we had the discipline and smarts (or some common-sense legislation) in the late 1990's we would have designed programs that actually served our customers and prospects.  We would have:
1. asked them for permission to send relevant messages
2. offered up a simple way for them to unsubscribe in every message we send
3. be clear and up front about who we are and how they can reach us in every message we send.
4. Carefully manage the quantity and quality of every mesage we send them.

In other words: follow CASL.

As marketers, I know we are smarter than that. We should not have had it come to being legislated to do the right thing. But we did.  

I repeat, we just cannot help ourselves. (same thing is happening regarding the use of personal data and the EU has introduced some tough new regulations to protect EU citizens - General Data Protection Regulations or GDPR. Stay tuned as the rest of the world follows their lead.)

So now we have to put our big-boy pants on and start treating our customers and prospects with a little respect by following a best practices guide like CASL. 

What would you do if you actually cared about your customer and prospect?


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