Consumers Prefer Email, But Want Choice

Email is the most preferred method of promotional communication for both consumers and marketers, according to a study released Monday by MarketingSherpa.

MarketingSherpa surveyed more than 2,000 consumers and 455 professional marketers to determine whether a disconnect exists between marketing practices and consumer preferences.

Some 60% of consumers prefer communicating with brands through regular email updates and newsletters, while 90% of marketers prefer to use email to communicate with their customers, according to the report.

There is a disparity between consumers and marketers, however, in how and when these email messages are sent and received.

Less than a quarter of consumers -- at 24% -- stated that they wanted to receive emails sent at a predetermined frequency selected by a brand, while 76% of marketers stated that they sent emails at predetermined times.  

Indeed, 49% of consumers stated that they want to select the frequency in which they receive email updates and promotions. Only 14% of marketers surveyed currently offer this service. MarketingSherpa says this disparity may add to the consumer belief that marketers are spamming their inboxes.

Email marketers should note that consumers want to select when and how often they receive emails. Offering consumers the ability to choose the frequency in which they receive emails can lead to more fruitful ROI and less unsubscribes and opt-outs.

Email marketers should also incorporate mobile campaigns into their email marketing strategy. Email on a smartphone was the second-most preferred mobile method of communication for consumers, according to the report.

Email is also the most popular form of customer communication in the financial services industry, according to a September TSYS study. Interestingly, traditional snail mail also remains popular with consumers, according to the study. Some 54% of consumers indicated that they wanted to receive physical mail, while only 19% of marketers still sent printed messages. 

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