How Brand BFFLs Enter Inner Circles

Best friends for life. What brand wouldn't want that distinction?

Morality might become the stepping stone into the inner circle, but relevance and trust keep the fire burning. Emails play a major role in building relationships, even when it comes to search engine marketing and personalization. In fact, 58% of consumers participating in a recent study emphasize the importance of personalization, admitting they wouldn't open an email if they thought it irrelevant to them or their needs

Building relevance leads to trust. IBM's Silverpop commissioned a study, Best Friend Brands, to give marketers a better understanding of the way consumers build relationships through relevance and trust. The research analyzes online shopping habits and communications preferences of nearly 4,000 consumers across the U.K., the U.S. and Germany. It looks at the standards consumers expect through content, motivations for opening or deleting emails and the reasons why they would click-through links to make a purchase.

Marketers not only find this in email marketing, but also search engine marketing and social campaigns on sites like Facebook and Twitter, where brands have an opportunity to enter the consumer's inner circle of friends.

The Best Friend Brands study showed 64% of people open an email because they trust the brand. In the U.S., 70% of those participating in the study said their existing relationship with the brand went a long way in determining whether or not they would open an email from them.

Connecting with consumers on email could mean a monthly purchase for the brand. Worldwide, 17% of the people Silverpop surveyed said they tend to purchase directly from a brand email once a month. In the U.S. that number rose to 21%.

Only 14% of respondents worldwide don't see email as an important communication media tool from their favorite brands. Some 67% couldn't name any types of information they prefer to receive via other channels, but 21% like offers and promotions; 13%, new product information; 12%, account information; 10%, transactional information; 10%, newsletters; and 1%, other.

Being best friends doesn't mean inundating buddies with messages. Too many messages leave emails unopened. Some 34% of respondents said they would leave emails unopened if they receive too much correspondence from the brand.

Emails coming from best friends get opened frequently, but consumers typically on have between four and five brands as best friends. Personalization still counts. The research shows 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when the retailer or brand tailors the tailors the initial email, based on their likes and preferences from previous online behavior. 

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