Avoiding The Customer Kiss Off

Offend a customer, and you could end up with an email unsubscribe on your hands. That’s one of the findings of a survey released this week by MarketingSherpa, confirming what seems like simple common sense.  

A consumer who is unsatisfied with a company will ignore their print ads and catalogs, and skip online pre-roll ads. All of those percentages exceed 50%, according to MarketingSherpa.

Then there’s email. Of the 2,400 consumers surveyed, 50% will unsubscribe most or all of the time when they are unhappy, and 17% will sometimes unsubscribe. In addition, slightly smaller percentages will block online ads, mute or turn the channel, skip podcast ads, change radio channels and delete an app.

What puts people into this resentful state? It can begin with an aggravating purchasing process. But they also seem cynical about business in general: As MarketingSherpa writes, “77% of American consumers think that many companies do not practice customer-first marketing.”

On the other hand, customers will like you if you put their needs before your own business goals, and if your marketing accurately reflects their expectations. They will also reward you for helping them make “the best decisions for me,” and if your marketing “is meant for someone like me.”

How will they show their esteem? First, they will forgive you for lapses if you have made them happy all along. In addition, a satisfied customer will often or always watch TV ads (52%), subscribe to email (50%) and read print ads delivered by mail (50%).  In general, they are more likely to engage with your brand in every channel.

That said, some channels are more accepted than others.

Online pop-up ads are the least popular advertising vehicle. The most trusted channels are the old ones — print ads (82%), TV ads (80%), ads/catalogs received by mail (79%), radio ads (71%) and outdoor ads (69%). Mobile is way down this roster, and email doesn’t appear on it as presented.

What bothers people about email? It’s a long list:  

  • I get too many emails in general—26%
  • The emails are not relevant to me—21%
  • I receive too many emails from this company specifically—19%
  • The emails are always trying to sell me something—19%
  • The content of the emails is boring, repetitive and not interesting to me—17%
  • I don’t have the time to read the emails—16%
  • I receive the same ads and promotions in the email that I get in print form (direct mail, print magazines)—13%
  • The email is too focused on the company’s needs, and not enough on my needs—11%
  • The email seems like it is intended to meet other people’s needs, not people like me—10%
  • The emails look too cluttered and sloppy—10%
  • I don’t trust their email to provide the information I need to make purchase decisions—10%
  • I get emails that don’t look good on my smartphone—7%

Here’s one more tidbit to keep in mind: “Personalization is important, but it’s not the primary concern for most customers.”

What can you do about all this? MarketingSherpa urges you to improve your game by “providing the data and insight into customers needs and wants — and then ensuring the business processes are in place to fulfill them.”

Let the customer rule. 

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