Anti-Spam For Dummies

Mass messages, fake accounts, unsolicited content and threatening or forceful emails are what comes to our mind when we think of spam – besides that questionably edible canned meat. Similar to the canned meat, spam messaging is completely unwanted (sorry to any spam lovers) but unlike the canned variety spam messaging is illegal within Australia, protecting consumers from those annoying emails.

So what is allowed and not allowed in Australia?

The Australian Spam Act 2003 protects consumers from unsolicited commercial messages.

Commercial messages, can be categorised as:

  • Offers, advertises or promotes a supplier of goods, services, land or a provider of business or investment opportunities
  • Electronic message is “commercial” if its content, presentation and links signify its commercial motive.

Side note: Considering how great my legal knowledge is, maybe I should click on this spam comment my earlier blog received?  (which I definitely marked as spam, and will definitely not be following up, great question though)


So when we talk about businesses sending out unsolicited commercial messages via SMS or email, how do we know when it is considered as spam?

There are two main focal points that businesses mustn’t ignore; these are the ‘opt in’ and ‘opt out’ steps, that is to consent to the messages, with an option to unsubscribe at any given stage.

  1. Consent (Opt in)

To receive promotional emails and information, customers must ‘opt in’ or provide consent to receive these messages. Consumers can provide expressed or inferred consent, failure to gain consent from consumers before sending emails is regarded as sending unsolicited commercial messages – aka. SPAM.

Express consent is where you tick the ‘send me promotional materials’ box next to the ‘I agree to the terms and conditions box’, or when you provide your email to ‘sign up to our subscription list’ when in store purchasing. Consent also extends to whereby if a consumer had chosen to opt out or no longer subscribe, they them imply to not give consent any longer, and must then consent again to receive promotional materials.

Inferred consent is less straight-forward but is the provision of consent based on publicly available work-related address. This means that if the address is not accompanied by a message implicitly stating it is not to receive messages, the sender can provide directly relevant commercial messages to the receiver.

Heres a classic ‘opt in’ option done different by ASOS, where they have multiple boxes to personalise the commercial messages you will receive.

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What not to do –> GraysOnline sent out promotional messages to those who had “opted out” and withdrawn their consent to receive promotional materials. The continued sending of commercial messages without consent from those receiver, cost GraysOnline a $165,000 fine.

  1. Unsubscribe (Opt out)

For commercial messaging to further comply with the Australian Spam Act 2003, the business must ensure messaging contains a functional and legitimate unsubscribe facility.

The unsubscribe button we are all likely far too familiar with “click here to unsubscribe” and “to opt out via SMS, reply UNSUB” must function within the message for a minimum of 30 days post message being sent out. The unsubscribe option must be simple to follow at no or minimal cost, and must be honoured within 5 business days

Heres an example of something I recently unsubscribed to:

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I was tired of receiving the promotional emails as they were no longer relevant to me, so I used their simple ‘opt out’ link to unsubscribe, the whole process took less than 10 seconds and was clear and straight forward.

What (also) not to do –> Tiger Airways faulty unsubscribe option meant customers weren’t able to properly opt out, and therefore continued to be sent promotional material. The airlines failure to unsubscribe customers landed them a $110,000 fine.

Email Marketing Tips

Beyond the legalities of spam messaging, some tips I have for marketers trying to configure their email and SMS marketing messages are:

  • Be transparent about their intentions when it comes to ‘opting in’ and what exactly consumers are signing up for
  • Make the unsubscribe feature clear and simple (its always great to prompt the receiver to let you know why they are unsubscribing, so you can adapt the experience for future consumers)
  • Send clean and easy to follow personalised emails, nobody wants to be bombarded with urgent call to actions and a whole lot of  THIS!!!???
  • Offer promotions and incentives for customers to subscribe to mailing lists, perfect example of this is whereby online retailers offer ‘10% off first order’ when you sign up.


So tell me, from consumer or marketing point of view, what are some great tips for businesses to follow when sending out email marketing? What irritates you the most and any negative experiences with spam, or what do you appreciate that a businesses does when sending out commercial messages?





‘Share a Coke’ and Spread the Word

Marketing in this modern era provides organisations with more freedom than ever, more space to innovate, more platforms to market across, and more media to integrate. With traditional media and digital media at the ready, marketers must be wise, but can be clever in creating a truly integrated approach to a marketing campaign.

Integrated Marketing Communications (or IMC), details the holistic collection of all activities undertaken by a brand, for a single campaign, with a focus on consistency of brand message across channels. Its success lies within the integration of the communication, meaning it must carry across digital to traditional media, to the product and to the brand itself. Smart marketers devise a way in which the brand message can be repurposed to adapt to the necessary platforms.

To highlight how a brand can execute an effective IMC campaign, Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign is nothing short of a brilliant mix of all the right messages, across all the right channels.

So, what did they do?

Coca-Cola created a campaign that launched in Australia in 2011 which has now spread across 70 countries. , where individual names were labelled on Coca-Cola cans and bottles, to personalise the customer experience and to promote sharing a coke with a friend. The campaign had such high success that Coca-Cola saw an evident rise in sales following the campaign’s run.

Using CIO’s brilliant article as reference (which you can read here), which outlines the 7 steps to a successful IMC campaign, these are some of the notable steps that Coca-Cola undertook to ensure their IMC plan was coordinated and effective (besides the obvious, making sure the message is consistent and integrated).

1: Know Your Target Audience 

Coca-Cola’s target audience was primarily millennials, with the key focus on social media integration as the fishing hook they could reel in the likes of social media driven consumers. This flourished the encouragement of sharing both on social media through #shareacoke, and through offline channels by purchasing a product. With the target audience as millennials, Coca-Cola could target their marketable behaviours of wanting their purchases to make them feel good, and like to share with friends. Coca-Cola was cleverly able to capitalise off this “feel good” experience by promoting the action of sharing a coke with a friend, and further sharing this experience on social media as consumer generated content enhanced the positive word-of-mouth for the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.

2: Create Content That Can Adapt Across Channels

The ‘Share a Coke’ message was promoted through traditional media such as billboards and interactive out-of-home kiosks, as well as digital streams such as social media posts and digital kiosks. However it is not the seamless integration across communication channels that places Coca-Cola as the holy grail of marketing, but it is however the way in which they create innovative content that adapts to the channel it is communicating through.

Coca-Cola utilised traditional kiosks as pop-ups where consumers could digitally create a personalised label that would print on their coke can, however this concept only has the reach of consumers in specific geographic regions.


Coca-Cola ‘Share a Coke’ Pop-up kiosk

So how did Coca-Cola spread the same message across platforms?

They created a digital kiosk through Facebook where you could (pretend to) personalise a (digital) coke can with your name on it, and share it on social media platforms encouraged by hashtags. Coined as “Share a virtual coke” users were prompted to share


Share a virtual can Facebook app

The positive association of the action of sharing to the brand Coca-Cola resulted in one of the most successful IMC campaigns, with the ultimate end action of purchasing a coke, the campaign flows directly into their revenue stream. The ‘Share a Coke’ can teach us a lot about how to integrated a marketing communications plan, or just about the beauty of sharing.

So let me know, have you ever been inclined to purchase a coke can with you or your friends name on it? What are your thoughts on the highlights and potential drawbacks in this campaign, let me know how you guy #shareacoke !


The Internet of Things: Payment with Rings?

IoT: What is it good for?

The Internet of Things (IoT) in a simplified expression involves the presence of a variety of devices – able to interact and cooperate with each other to reach common goals. A term coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999 in which majority of us have never heard of, yet have experienced through the effortlessly integration of internet into aspects of everyday life.

For marketers, IoT is a brilliant concept that provides the ability to enrich the consumer journey by firstly gathering data and analysis on consumer habits and journey, and then by implementing notification and targeted advertising as well as quick resolution to consumer implications.

Research company PewInternet conducted a survey in 2014 in which they state “wearable computing will progress significantly between now and 2025” and that “information interfaces will advance” – and they have.

Wearable Technology

Self-explanatory by its name, wearable technology is the amalgamation of clothing or wearable accessories with electronic technologies. Common wearables include smartwatches such as AppleWatch or FitBit, or the (not so) fashionable GoogleGlass. Wearable technology allows a degree of consumer ease or convenience, it brings the internet and information technology directly to us in order to provide us some benefit, such as health information within the FitBit, communication technology with the AppleWatch.

However to highlight the evolution of wearable technology, no device strikes me with more fascination than Bankwest Halo, bringing the technology of payment to our fingertips, quite literally.

Bankwest Halo

“Forget your wallet with Australia’s first payment ring”

We used to make purchases using cash or cheque, then the credit and debit card which then paved the way for innovative technology such as PayPass and PayWave, the “tap-and-go era’ which utilising NFC  (near-field communication) chip technology to make purchases with a simple touch of the card. This technology allowed the next stream of payment options utilising your phone, and even your smartwatch.

Taking the wearable payment to the newest height is Bankwest with their fashionable  ring (take notes GoogleGlass), that with a simple fist motion allows consumers to pay with the magic of their finger.

However, when does convenience outweigh practicality?

I for one, personally use my phone to make a high majority of my payments, I find it simple and easy to use a device that I have in my pocket at all times regardless of intent to purchase or not. There has been times where I have made payment on my phone when it has been on 3% battery, and if it had died, what would I have done? It is not practical to purely rely on wearable devices at all times, but I definitely welcome the benefits of them and the convenience they offer.

So my question to you, what wearable devices do you own and what new innovations would you like to see? And do you think the Bankwest Halo Ring is as far as we can advance for payment wearables, or what could possibly come next?


Putting the I in iPhone, Steps for Mobile Marketing Success

Mobile has revolutionised the marketing game, it has revolutionised the way we communicate, explore, connect, listen, experience and live. So prevalent in society around 9/10 Australian adults own a personal mobile device. In fact, there is a higher probability you are reading this on a phone than on any other device.

Mobile has become the fastest growing media platform, making it imperative to the digital marketing plan of any organisation. Devised by Kaplan, a list of four crucial success factors have been established to implement or consider in any mobile marketing campaign; individualise, involve, integrate, initiate.


Mobile is so personalised consumers expect information on whatever they want, whenever they want. Unlike media predecessors such as the computer and TV in which consumers share usage, the mobile device is uniquely and utilised to enable its users to tailor their mobile experience to their personal interests. Marketers must adhere to this trend when creating mobile marketing campaigns to allow the idea of personalisation to flow through to the consumer.

This concept is well executed by social media giant Facebook with their Facebook Marketplace, through focusing on user preferences and interests.


Facebook Marketplace allows Facebook users to buy and sell items within the Facebook platform.

Facebook Marketplace suggests items for sale to consumers based on their geographic location (proximity to item of sale) as well as notifying its users of new items in relation to similar or recent searches. This provides each individual user with personalised marketing messages from Facebook Marketplace with individualised interest to users.


Through integrating the mobile activity into the user’s normal routine, marketers can avoid becoming a nuisance to the consumer. This was executed by Boost Juice with their Free the Fruit mobile game.


Free the Fruit app allowed for users to win vouchers and drinks through game play

The gamification of the purchasing of products allowed for users to replace other existing mobile gaming apps or activities with the Boost Juice app. The mobile game translated points into currency for products when a user is within near proximity of a store. This integrates with the Boost Juice app and user account to seamlessly transition from mobile game play to ordering the free or discounted drinks through the mobile ordering app.


Involving the user into the mobile marketing enables communication between organisation and end user, and allows consumers to create their own personalised experience as well. Conversing with the user enables organisations to increase engagement from users.

Technology within Style Match feature of the ASOS Mobile app allows consumer involvement into their own marketing of products.


Style Match utilises photos upload by the user to generate similar items of interest

Conversing through photo imagery, ASOS recommends product items or styles to the user based on photos taken or uploaded by the mobile device of ASOS users. This requires consumer involvement for the activation of the tailored marketing service to occur, and reduces the appearance of annoyance or bombarding of marketing messages, by rather inviting the consumer to initiate the conversation.


Last but far from least, one of the highly regarded success factors of mobile marketing is to initiate the production of consumer-generated content. Last week I touched on this notion of ‘ideavirus’ and how Starbucks were able to elicit consumer-generated content from its customers (you can read all about this article here!).

Mobile marketing campaigns are only as successful if they inspire consumer response, as is any campaign, product, idea or even blog post (this is my lead into initiating consumer response to this article).

So I invite you to leave a comment on which of Kaplan’s four successors do you believe is most vital to mobile marketing? 



What’s in a Name? The Virality of Starbucks’ Misspelling

Starbucks is a globally known franchise for their extensive coffee menu and their iconic white and green ‘Starbucks siren’ (and when I say extensive I mean ridiculous – I once ordered an actual drink as ‘Vanilla Soy Espresso Frappuccino® extra shot’). But one thing to me that stands out more than their vibrant green straws, is the common misspelling of mine, along with many, many, customers names.

So how is having your name scribbled on a coffee cup so remarkable? It is not the name itself, but the very action of having your name more than less misspelt on your cup. Whether an intentional marketing scheme by Starbucks or simply a hilarious way to pass time for barista’s, the high occurrence of obvious mispronunciation may be a simply brilliant way of creating viral interest.

Let’s assume it is purposeful and look at how exactly it has become a viral phenomenon. When we discuss social transmission, we look at why things spread. In Starbucks case, the social currency is the remarkability of the name (mis)spelling. It is unique and sets them apart, it makes the consumer feel as though they had an interesting experience in contrast to other coffee shops.

This Starbucks experience became so notable to some that they believed it was worth sharing. This benefits Starbucks through a concept coined by Seth Godin as ‘Ideavirus’ where ‘the idea is to create an environment where consumers will market to each other’ as Starbucks customers had the potential to market the Starbucks experience to other potential consumers on social media – and they did. Research by BrandWatch looked at UK and US tweets by Starbucks consumers and discovered ‘between 1st June – 18 July 2017 (excluding retweets), we found around 50 tweets per day including a reference to the spelling of a name and a mention of Starbucks either in the text or as a logo in an image’ 

With Starbucks unavoidably embedded into the story even when no direct mention of Starbucks is made, the context and even the imagery of the cup is easily identified as Starbucks. The brand has its product and name attached to the story of the consumers amusement at the barista’s failed attempt of their name. Started by a few people sharing their bizarre spellings of simple names, it created a viral effect, where people were wanting to purchase a Starbucks drink to see how their name would be butchered.

Side note: If you bring a reusable cup you will receive a discount but you won’t however get your name scribbled on your cup (Although I have once had my name very interestingly pronounced when I brought my reusable cup.)

So let me know, what is the wildest spelling of your name you’ve received from Starbucks? And do you believe it is an example of a thought-out viral marketing plan, or simply a way to make the simple coffee transaction a bit entertaining?


The Business Model of Instagram Models


Confusing headline right? But let me explain. Business models in an academic context refer to the means in which a business is able to sustain itself financially through a set of planned actions.

Yet in an online social media context, a “business model” is another way to describe the career of online social media influencers; modelling their personality, likes, products they endorse and so forth.

In this digital era, social media is the runway for many influencers. Showcasing brands, products and services, goods from cars, to teeth whitener, to hotel endorsements. Their high-profile and follower count grabs the attention of companies looking for an alternative to more traditional online advertising methods.

How does this work? When we look at the data (bear with me) on how and why consumers and consuming social media. 28% Of consumers in 2017 followed celebrities, bloggers, and social media personalities, with another 18% of users following brands or businesses or using social media to find out more about the brand. It’s no surprise as people we enjoy looking at nice things, and living vicariously through those people who always seem to be on holidays and sporting the latest trends. As these social media pages increase in popularity, they begin to have a higher reach, and therefore influence over people.

Let me break the model down into a few steps:

  1. Build A Profile

The influencer his/herself needs to become their own brand, they have interests, specialties, interact with their followers, post frequently and consistently, and most importantly, have a suitable target audience that aligns with those of prospective brands. Influencers must have growth and reach in order to become valuable to brands, as they become the bridge that connects brands to consumers without the cost of traditional media.

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Kylie Jenner with 111 million followers on Instagram (source:

  1. Connect with Brands Alike

Depending on type of influencer and fit to brand, brands will reach out to social media models. In order for exchange of value to occur, there needs to be a mutual connection between what the brand is selling, and whether it fits into the influencers image – that is, whether it appeals to the followers of the influencers.

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Big brands such as Coca-Cola connecting with the ‘big brands’ of Instagram, a collaboration with Selena Gomez, who has the current highest follower count on Instagram. (source:

  1. Promote Yourself (and the Brand)

There are a range of ways these social media models can promote their sponsored brands, Instagram stories and feeds, YouTube videos, Blog Posts. A simple tag, comment or hashtag from an influencer to a brand is a sure way of generating interest from the following of the social media star. Mutual engagement between a brand and the influencers it hires is also a good way for both the brand and the influencer to increase their following and awareness in the digital world, and plays as an equally beneficial exchange, allowing the business model to flow through creating this value for both the influencers’ ‘business’ and the brand.

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Hashtags and captions on a blog, video, post etc. help reinforce the connection between the influencer and the brand

  1. Collect your Earnings

With reports showing that the highest amount earned for a single post on platforms such as Instagram is $1.3 million per post, it demonstrates why influencers are becoming more prevalent and pushing their self and their brand online. With many influencers of a high following creating their own brand in an area of interest such as Kylie Cosmetics, RenActive, and KeepItCleaner, they can use their existing following as a base for advertising their self-made brands to a high number of individuals at a low (or even no) cost.

Social media influencers can become a valuable asset for a brand and are beginning to understand the power and worth that is within what they post online.

With influencers, demanding higher and higher monetary amounts for sponsored posts, brands have to consider investing more into digital marketing through these influencers to tap into that large number of consumers whose online activity is based around finding enjoyment in listening and seeing what social media personalities are doing.

Are businesses wasting money by throwing large amounts into influencer marketing? Will this trend only continue to rise or should brands switch to smaller micro-influencers and original content. Would a smarter move for brands be to allocate more money to innovative social media campaigns to break through the noise of influencer posts. What do you guys think, Is influencer marketing worth all the hype?