There's an inherent danger in assuming technology tools will give you expert skills in disciplines you previously had no specialism in. Installing Outlook, Quickmail or a similar e-mail package doesn't make you a direct marketeer.
Direct marketing is a discipline that organisations have shed blood, sweat and tears getting right because they realise the quality of a direct-mail piece says so much about them.
I am incredulous, therefore, that so many companies now seem content to blanket their customer base with poorly constructed and badly implemented e-mail broadcasts - all in the name of cost-saving and moving to new-world technologies.
Electronic broadcasting by e-mail and fax is, without doubt, a fantastic new communications tool. The question is, who should ultimately be responsible for executing campaigns?
Put total responsibility into the hands of a technically naive marketing assistant and you could do untold damage to your business' image if the execution goes wrong.
Yet marketing must clearly maintain control of content. The answer, I suggest, is for IT departments to grab hold of responsibility for campaign execution - especially for important and mass-market mailings.
IT departments also need to get more involved because of the issues of returns and transmission problems. File compatibility is another common issue. And who is responsible for database management and cleansing?
Procedures need to be put in place for constructing e-mail content, prioritising transmissions, handling returns and giving technical advice. What shouldn't be underestimated are the dangers of getting it wrong.