You quickly learn that your practices anger your co-workers. "You mean you actually rent my name and address to our competitors? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. That's like McDonalds giving the license plate numbers of every customer ordering in the drive-through to Burger King. We need to stop this practice immediately! Does our CEO know about this?" When you tell the legal representative that she won't have a job if you cannot acquire new customers via traditional catalog marketing list practices, s/he relents, and even helps you craft language that "protects the brand".
- Language Actually Used: If you place an order through our catalog, we may share your name and postal address with carefully screened direct marketing companies whose products or services we feel may interest you.
- Actual Meaning: It will be a lot harder for us to stay in business if we cannot rent or exchange your name/address with a veritable plethora of organizations who benefit from your past purchase activity. We earn money by renting your name and address to our competitors, and in exchange, we get access to the best customers who shop with our competitors. Your name and address are also deposited into a rich source of information called a "co-op" database. We really have no idea what goes on when we deposit your name into a co-op database, we just know we get access to other names that seem likely to buy from our brand.
And the amazing thing we'll learn is that, after an initial shock, we can maintain the growth of the brands we manage without renting and exchanging names and addresses. It will take a level of creativity only possible when business models shift, but it will happen.