Relevance Remains a Challenge for E-Mail Marketers

Batch-and-blast has consequences

It might seem obvious that marketers must send relevant messages if they want to be noticed and appreciated by consumers. But the CMO Council and InfoPrint Solutions Company’s “Why Relevance Drives Response and Relationships” report indicates that they have a problem being faithful to audience preferences.

US Internet users deluged with mass e-mails have little time for irrelevant promotions and newsletters, and they have enough experience to know how to unsubscribe. More than nine in 10 respondents to the CMO Council survey had unsubscribed from an e-mail newsletter at some point. Relevance—or lack thereof—was the No. 1 reason.

Web users also complained of receiving too many to manage and getting tired of all the clutter. In many cases that clutter can have consequences for marketers: 22% of respondents have decided not to purchase from a company because of irrelevant promotions, either via e-mail or direct mail. A further 41% said they would consider doing the same.

Promotional e-mails were the most common thing for respondents to find in their inbox, with 60% saying they received such e-mails most. E-newsletters were the next-most-common type of messages.

But it was the least common messages that were most likely to be opened—monthly bills and bank statements. Only about four in 10 recipients said they “always” opened promotional offers or newsletters.

“Irrelevant, impersonal communications, 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, in a statement. “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.”

By eMarketer