Many brands love to get in touch with customers regularly to let them know about their latest products and services, or perhaps to stimulate a discussion and share interesting or amusing content. But how often is too often? According to a study by the Aimia Institute, nearly three-quarters of consumers in the UK believe brands send them too many emails. As a result, many are taking steps such as unfollowing them on social media, unsubscribing from mailing lists and closing down accounts and subscriptions.
But some brands are getting their digital communications right. The Aimia Institute believes Amazon is particularly good at targeting consumers via digital platforms, while Sainsbury’s, Nationwide and John Lewis are also said to be adept at using these channels.
Martin Hayward, Senior Vice President of Global Digital Strategy and Futures at Aimia, pointed out that retailers currently have more data about their customers available than they have ever had before, as well as an unprecedented number of channels to communicate with them through.
“However, some brands fall into a trap of assuming permission to use these channels whenever and however they see fit,” he commented. “As consumers opt to take control of the communications they receive, companies that send badly targeted messages risk losing many of their customer relationships completely. Brands must earn the right to contact their customers.”
Mr Hayward said this can be achieved by using data to personalise and tailor their communications, so they are relevant to each recipient. Brands must then select the most appropriate means of delivering their message. “Get these ingredients right and customer communications can be a powerful tool to build deep and long lasting relationships,” he stated. “Get it wrong though, and brands will find themselves cut off.”
Significantly, the research revealed that 39 per cent of consumers find personalised emails from companies useful. The Aimia Institute said this means there is a healthy appetite among the British public for relevant and well targeted marketing messages. But the study also showed that just 20 per cent people believe supermarket brands send them very relevant information. Meanwhile, just 13 per cent were satisfied with the communications they receive from their bank, while the figure was only 11 per cent for food and drink brands.
With consumers becoming more and more selective about the brands they engage with and demanding as to what they expect from any marketing communications, the need to ensure all messages are relevant, personalised and well targeted is clear.
The key is to win the trust of the customer to such a point where they are happy to share their personal details with a brand. The more they learn about their customers, the more relevant any communications will be. This is by no means an instant process, but it’s a sign of how important it can be to not only initiate but also maintain a meaningful relationship with consumers.
Posted by Robin McCrink