Why aren’t you collecting email addresses?
Many of the exhibitors at the Agile2009 conference in Chicago are using the traditional scanner that lets them scan the attendees’ badge (access card). One of the nearby exhibitor (who meant well) approached us asking “Why aren’t you collecting email addresses?“. He couldn’t understand why we weren’t using such a device to obtain the email addresses of hundreds of attendees.
If you are not familiar with the badge scanning concept, here’s how it works. In exchange for letting an exhibitor scan your badge, they will typically offer you to participate in a draw to win an iPod, a Wii, or any other potentially appealing gizmo’s. So for the cost of the reward (usually less than $300) they obtain a large number of valid email addresses that they can later use to send relevant (?) documentation, promotional offering, information about upcoming events, etc.
While this strategy may sound appealing, the fact that we don’t use such scanning devices could appear counter-intuitive. The reason we refuse to scan badges is that we do not believe in building a “spam-list” – let’s call a spade, a spade! We do not believe that the names of people who simply agreed to participate in a draw to win something should be used for other purposes. These people weren’t specifically asked to opt-in an e-marketing campaign and since we truly live our values to treat our customers (even the potential ones) with respect, we do not collect email addresses unless the individual explicitly agreed to be contacted by our organization in the future and we do this with a simple question. “Would you agree to give us your business card so we can send you information about our products in the near future?“.
In our opinion, people who knowingly agreed to provide personal information are more likely to pay attention to the incoming emails they would receive from our organization.
Call it counter-intuitive if you wish, we call this “the customer experience“.