Spam is a simple numbers game, spam enough people and someone signs up, people get more savvy, means you need to spam more people.

Spam really is the result of going by the numbers too much - the more we talk to the more we hope that someone converts.

Given the cost of email is so low it works (if you get enough people).

It really is the result though of a series of decisions, made by the numbers and the numbers only. We have targets to meet, emailing 1 million people isn't working anymore, ok email 2 million people.

In a global world this seems to work, there are always more people to spam, or at least someone somewhere is dropping their guard.

The problem in New Zealand though there is finite people, 4,381,056 to be exact and you can't keep scaling, there isn't enough of us! You have to get smarter, more creative, more attractive to consumers to bubble to the top of their attention.

And traditionally that's what we've been very very good at however the economic environment has made people a bit complacent into their creativity, sticking to the basics, re-using creatives, spreading their marketing thin - and on paper it looks good.

However those numbers will change, as Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, it's not going to improve. And if you're not improving where are you going?

Please be cautious marketing by the numbers, remember to step outside them, question the assumptions that build the numbers - often there's a lot there if you dig into it. Otherwise you end up in a situation...that's very spammy indeed.

Now is the time to be brave, stretch those boundaries, come up with some new ideas and grab market share whilst your competition are being complacent. Let them hold back and you grab the horns. When they want to start catching up all they can do is chase you and that's a winning position to be in.

Ben Young from bwagy is the author of The Best Ideas are Free and marketing director at Young & Shand.