Spock blogging

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Photo credit: www.james-scholes.com

My home planet of Vulcan does not believe in “marketing.” One perceives a need, inquires as to how it is being filled, and makes an application to become involved with an organization or organizations that fulfill that need. We do not promote or force our individual interests upon others. We leave that to the Romulans. 

My mother is from Earth, and has spoken of such Earth-based trends as “branding.” This is perplexing to me, as my curiosity regarding Earth culture yielded research that branding was previously a form of non-consensual tattooing used to denote ownership of slave casts and cattle intended for later consumption. Why one would want to personally identify themselves as the victim of such is most illogical. 

…I am told that saying “illogical” is part of my own “brand.” My confusion grows. 

Regardless, I have taken the time to study electronic mail communications from Earth businesses to better understand these concepts. What I have found is that regardless of the social mores of one’s planet of origin, there are techniques that simply should not be undertaken. 
Too Frequent, or Not At All: Human minds require balance. They must be reminded of important things, yet must also not be reminded of them too frequently. Like death. It is important to remember one is mortal, but not that life can end at any time. (I have discovered there are certain loopholes to this latter fact, but not everyone is fortunate enough to encounter a newly formed planet with regenerative capacities). 
By that same virtue, businesses must remind potential customers that they exist and are constantly innovating their products yet remember that the majority of those they contact simply do not care about every little thing that happens to their business. 

Reception of constant, daily, or even several-times-daily communications from a business tend to assume a level of familiarity that does not exist. Unlike non-electronic communication, those who feel bombarded with unwanted information via email can simply opt out of or block future communiqués. 
I will admit to some consternation that one cannot simply do this with certain direct interactions, but controlling emotions is a significant part of my society. 

However, it is also essential to remind potential consumers of a business’s existence. With varied options, a mere announcement of an opening is enough to pique interest, but it is likely to soon fade as other businesses announce their own wares and/or services. 
Simple, scheduled email marketing, perhaps on an interval of once a week on the same day, represents a means of building awareness without provoking thoughts of annoyance or potential homicide. 

…I would know nothing of the latter. Even with a veritable avalanche of coupons for pureed fruit drinks and sauced flatbreads. 

Excessive Sensory Stimulation: The human—or even Vulcan—mind can only process so many basic details. Ergo, mails that regularly exceed, say, 500 or so words, contain more than 5 to 10 links, and feature large photographic images that require time to download do not properly register. Or, rather, they are registered as “unprofessional” and deleted or blocked. 

As the diameter of display screens for mobile communication devices grows smaller, (none of which reflect the elegant bulkiness of the Tricorder), an intense aversion to “scrolling” has emerged. If information cannot be conveyed in an immediate and efficient manner, those receiving it feel no need to “scroll,” even if it requires little more than a minor gesture of one’s finger. 
(I am reminded that my Vulcan heritage gives me a distorted view of digital dexterity; our joints have evolved along different lines due to millennia of making the Vulcan greeting. There are yoga techniques to ease this gesture.) 

Just as many primitive electronic devices contain limited memory, so do the people using these devices. Impressions must be short, immediate and minimal in presentation while maximum in clarity. 

And there is the most obvious, yet most frequently-forgotten problem with email marketing: 

“Spam” is Illegal: Why Earth-folk have chosen to name unwanted emails after canned cured processed meats is, well, highly illogical. 

It would even seem an unfair comparison. Spam is for the most part an affordable and nutritionally acceptable substitute for more well-regarded protein supplements, and its long shelf life renders it highly desirable for expeditions that are unlikely to allow access to alternate food sources and/or proper refrigeration. I have some recipes, but that would be overly tangential to this topic. 

Regardless, it is a simple fact—available and accurate even on publicly edited online encyclopedias—that there are basic rules and regulations regarding the distribution of mass-produced electronic promotions. I will not deign to repeat them here. But they should be read and understood. 

From the beginning, all business promotions conducted via email should conform to the standards of spam regulation. Mass-email systems, particularly those that do not allow the opportunity to subscribe/unsubscribe, often fail to meet these standards. At worst, there’s the possibility of fines, blocking from major search engines, and an official record of an association with poor business practices. At best, it would serve to preemptively damage the reputation a company seeks to accrue with a potential business base. 

Literal Spam in bulk is an excellent way to stockpile foodstuffs for large numbers or in anticipation of a potential apocalyptic event (Earth people seem particularly obsessed with the idea of their dead spontaneously resurrecting). Electronic “spam” in bulk, sent unsolicited, is illegal and unprofessional. 
A specific, targeted audience, specific to the location and services of a business, is acceptable for no more than one carefully constructed email, with an option to opt out, sent out through means that are more specifically targeted (for example, publicly available email addresses for other businesses that could employ these services within a specific distance of the home base of your company). 
There is much still to be learned about marketing, and, I confess, much I still struggle to comprehend about the Earth methods of marketing and branding. But I can assure you—I have seen the future. Much has been overcome. The human adventure is – and I say this truthfully – only beginning. Strive toward a better tomorrow, and let it begin on the smallest level—through practical, thoughtful, unobtrusive electronic marketing. It is a small but meaningful step. 

Live long and prosper.