BOULDER, CO - Consumers are taking control of in-bound communication channels, unsubscribing to irrelevant email, and defecting from brands that continue to deliver irrelevant content and random mass mailings, according to a new poll from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and InfoPrint Solutions Company.
While 64 percent of consumers say promotional offers dominate both the email and traditional mail they receive, only 41 percent view these as must-read communications. Of the 91 percent of consumers who opt out or unsubscribe to emails, 46 percent are driven to brand defection because the messages are simply not relevant.
The threat of customer churn and disconnection intensifies as 41 percent of consumers say they would consider ending a brand relationship due to irrelevant promotions, and an additional 22 percent say they would definitely defect from the brand. Yet, while marketers continue to weigh the pros and cons of email versus printed postal mail, consumers are much more concerned about the level of individualization and understanding of their needs and relationship with the brand.
Key findings of the consumer engagement study highlighted in the report, Why Relevance Drives Response and Relationships: Using the Power of Precision Marketing to Better Engage Customers, showed that:
• Nearly three quarters of consumers have received promotions for
products they have previously purchased from the company
• 73 percent of consumers would be open to receiving print statements if
mailed materials were recyclable or part of a sustainability program
• Nine out of ten consumers open monthly bills delivered via traditional
mail, compared to 72 percent who open bills delivered via email
• When given the opportunity to choose, 51 percent of consumers prefer
to receive product or service promotions via traditional mail, while 44
percent prefer email
The CMO Council report noted that consumers today are deluged and overloaded with a plethora of unwanted direct marketing and promotional messages that are blasted out via email, or mass-produced and mailed in vast quantities, ending up choking mail boxes and filling recycling bins. In most cases, recipients ignore, or have become immune, to standardized commercial overtures. And with the advent of the Internet, consumers are seeking product information and affirmation from trusted sources and referral networks online.
"Irrelevant, impersonal communication, be it email or traditional mail, is a waste as it does not engage a receptive recipient," said Liz Miller, Vice President, Programs and Operations, CMO Council. "It is no surprise that consumers are opting out of irrelevant emails. However, what is a grave sign for marketers to heed is that customers will disconnect and stop doing business with brands who continue to send messages that demonstrate a lack of intimacy, customer insight and individual understanding."
Even when marketers have deeper engagements with customers, as with loyalty clubs and rewards programs, they are often missing the mark in delivering meaningful messages. In fact, only six percent of consumers felt that the promotions received through loyalty club communications were based on preferences or past purchasing behavior.
The result of this mixed bag of messages is that marketers are missing the opportunity to drive loyalty and affect purchase intentions. In this regard, 30 percent of consumers stated they are inspired to do business with a company after receiving personalized communication.
"The research clearly shows that staying relevant, valued and connected to customers has become the number one challenge for marketers today," said Sandra Zoratti, Vice President, Global Solutions Marketing at InfoPrint Solutions Company. "There is a real need to adopt precision marketing approaches that utilize more tailored and targeted messaging throughout the entire customer life cycle. Continuous data collection, as well as integration and analysis produce customer insights which will enable mass-customization of messaging to recipients and generate improved response, engagement and retention."
To download the complimentary summary report of findings and gain access to best practices, view video vignettes from industry leaders, and see examples of precision marketing in action, visit http://www.precisionpromotion.org/.
Data Points to Note:
• Traditional junk mail accounts for over 100 billion pieces of mail each year, and 44 percent of this unsolicited, primarily promotional mail
ends up in a landfill... unopened.
• Email waste is also staggering. There are more than 200 billion email
messages sent each day, yet 97 percent of all email sent is actually spam,
according to an April 2009 report released by Microsoft.
• Cisco reports "customized" spam that is based on personal information
stolen from the web has quadrupled over the last 12 months (2009).
• The average email open rate across 16 industries during Q2 of 2009 now stands at 22.2%, and has increased for the fourth quarter in a row.
• About 3.3% of opt-in emails for subscribers in the US and Canada were sent to "junk" or "bulk" email bins, while 17.4% did not get delivered at all. (ReturnPath)
• Forrester reports that by 2014, email marketing spend will rise to $2
billion -- almost double the projected spend of $1.2 billion for 2009. (ReturnPath)
• The average individual is expected to receive 25 messages a day in five years, double the 10 or 12 emails received now. (ReturnPath)