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Marketing emails are less relevant than they were a year ago, say 39% of consumers

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Thirty nine percent of UK consumers say that the marketing emails they receive have become less relevant than they were a year ago, according to research by e-Dialog International.

The e-Dialog Email Attitudes Report 2010, which surveyed 2,000 British consumers, also revealed that there has been a 34% annual increase in the number of people who feel the marketing emails they receive are irrelevant.

Out of the 13% of people who feel that emails have become more relevant, however, 17% claim that is as a result of opting out of emails which are not of interest or that they no longer wish to receive. This suggests that web-savvy British consumers are prepared to correct the issue themselves if they feel a brand is still not getting the content right, says e-Dialog.

While the perception of what makes relevant email content varies amongst individuals, special offers are still rated most highly by consumers, with 47% stating this as their preferred type of marketing e-mail, followed by delivery and shipping update information (24%).

“I find it surprising that another year has gone by with companies still failing to communicate the relevance of the content of email messages,” comments Simone Barratt, managing director at e-Dialog. “However, brands do have compelling content at their disposal, and many consumers are better at ensuring they receive just what is of interest to them. By including clear opt-out options and preference updates in e-mails, brands can overcome the problem of tying together customer data and marketing content so that the resources and information already available produce the desired results.”

By comparison to 2008, the survey also found that consumers are now more likely to share a marketing email with friends or colleagues with 37% of us saying that we would forward a mail, an increase of 31% overall year on year. Women are consistently more likely to share a marketing email, with 40% claiming they forward on these messages, compared to 34% of men. That said, 50% had never used the in-built ‘forward to a friend’ feature in many messages, suggesting that marketers should reconsider the ways that the success of a campaign is measured.

“The discrepancy between people who forward messages and those using the ‘share’ function means that the measurability and reach of a campaign may be skewed and may not demonstrate the full extent of the success of campaign outreach,” says Barrett. “With campaigns so often judged on the measurability of the results, brands need to consider other points along the customer lifecycle where they might be able to gather relevant information or monitor the passage to determine the success of a campaign.”

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