The Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine sells outdoor and sporting equipment, including hunting and fishing gear. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife sells hunting and fishing licenses over the Internet. Because of a ruling by Maine’s Attorney General that those names and email addresses were considered public record, they Kittery Trading Post was able to buy the list for a nominal sum.
Smart marketers always look for lists that are highly targeted, and tightly-aligned with what they have to sell. You can’t get much more aligned that that – a list of 100,000 people that hunt and fish in Maine as a business that sells hunting and fishing gear in Maine.
Bill Nemitz told the story well in his column in the Portland Press Herald.
What was most interesting and telling is that the people on the list appeared to more upset at the Kittery Trading Post’s plans to send them unsolicited email, than they were with the Department of IFW, for selling their names in the first place.
This story illustrates the importance of opt-in, and permission-based marketing: a prospect may really like what you have to sell, but if he didn’t tell you that you can talk to him, you might damage your brand by trying.
Ask permission first, and market second.