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Firms still not hitting the mark with their email marketing

Firms still not hitting the mark with their email marketing

New research from customer insight specialist GI Insight reveals that more than half of UK consumers are not receiving well targeted emails.

A UK-wide survey found that 53% of the British public feel that almost all the direct emails they receive from companies and organisations is not relevant to them.

The GI Insight survey of 2,000 UK consumers also shows that while the industry can certainly improve its email targeting, there is ground for optimism in the fact that 73% of respondents declared that they had given a company that they already purchase from permission to email them.

Consumers, however, are much less warm to firms they have not bought from before, the research shows. Only 51% of respondents say they give permission to companies they have not purchased from before to contact them via email.

Andy Wood, managing director of GI Insight, comments: “The results of this survey show that while some firms are devoting more and more effort to personalising and targeting communications, there is still some way to go before the majority of the British public is satisfied with the direct email efforts of the brands they connect with.

“For email to work as an effective medium for both the consumer and organisation, drilling down into customer data and using that obtained insight to more accurately target and personalise the email should become the norm. When a consumer receives an email from a brand they have entrusted with their email address, they clearly expect something more than a carpet-bomb approach. They don’t expect messages that are totally irrelevant to them – or redundant.”

A number of significant trends are also uncovered by the report in terms of gender, age, income level/spending power and geography:

• Women are more likely to see the majority of the corporate email they are sent as relevant than men, with only 50% of female consumers saying nearly all such messages are off-target compared to 55% of male respondents

• Consumers 35 years of age and older are more likely to see the vast majority of their email as irrelevant than younger age groups, but the oldest (age 45-plus) are more likely to give a firm they buy from permission to email them

• The research also showed that the higher the household income, the better the targeting – with only 22% of the highest earners surveyed saying that most of the email they receive from companies is irrelevant

• Consumers from households in the highest income bracket are far more likely to give firms they buy from permission to contact them by email

• Respondents from London and the South East are more likely see the marketing emails they receive as relevant than in regions with fewer affluent households.

These noteworthy trends reflect that marketers are perhaps focusing more of their targeting efforts on the more affluent households – boosting the relevance for commercial email recipients in wealthier regions, and those in older, higher earning age groups.

Wood notes: “The negative effects of irrelevant email messaging can be really damaging to the brand in terms of reputation, increasing unsubscribes and even lost customers. While this is less of an issue for targeting the older, more affluent consumer, when mistargeted emails are sent to the younger, cash-tight customers, the ability to build a long-term, positive relationship is seriously diminished. When you think that they too could be the affluent, older consumers of tomorrow, the impact can be seriously far-reaching.”

He adds: “What this research does highlight is that the consumer is well aware that the days of easy, quick and cheap email communications that are blasted out to all and sundry should really be well in the past. This research should ring warning bells for any organisation where customer insight is not applied intelligently and effectively to this crucial channel.”

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