Control Freaks: Consumers Want Sway Over Email Frequency

Control and simplicity are the two things consumers want most from brands -- especially in their email marketing, according to The Great Divide—Connecting Brands to the Real Needs of Today's Consumer, a study by Alliance Data.

They also want personalization, although not in the way marketers might think.

Of the consumers polled, 69% demand control over email frequency. And when they have it, 52% are more likely to pay attention to messages from a brand. And 50% are less prone to feel overwhelmed by marketing.

However, only 10% of brands are providing control in an adequate way, the study reports. In addition, 63% of consumers seek control over the content they receive. But only 24% of brands say they are doing a good job of providing that. 

Of 31 needs studied, simplicity is rated as the most important. That means clarity. But while 84% of consumers claim that clear content is important, only 49% feel brands are delivering it.

Those are not the only disconnects between brands and consumers. Another is personalization. Almost all marketers say it’s important to meet consumers’ personalization needs. But half of shoppers consumers say brands not succeeding.



What do consumers want when it comes to personalization?

Only 31% feel that brands need to refers to them by name. But 77% crave tailored sales, discounts and promotions. And 75% want products featured online to be available in their local store. 

Less than half find value in messages based on past purchases or online/app browsing history.

Alliance Data surveyed 2,515 consumers and 200 retail marketers late last year. In addition, it gathered qualitative feedback.

Consumers seem receptive to email. But it depends on the vertical. 

Of consumers who buy specialty products, 53% will subscribe to a brand’s emails, compared to 44% of department store shoppers. In both these cases, email is the medium of choice.

In contrast, only 34% of online product purchasers will subscribe. But 75% will regularly shop/browse the website.

Furniture and décor buyers are most likely to visit a store. And 36% will subscribe to their emails. Also 33% of sporting goods/hobby/home improvement customers will opt in.

Email receptivity also depends on age. Young consumers are most likely to keep up with brands digitally. But the penchant for subscribing to their email is less pronounced among Gen Zers, only 25% of whom do so, compared with 38% for baby boomers, 40% for Gen Xers and 34% for millennials.

In contrast, 43% of Gen Z is more likely to visit a brand’s website and 40% to go to a store.

Companies that include product photos in emails or social media posts are on solid ground — 72% of digitally engaged consumers are likely to want them, versus 64% of everyone else.  

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