DOA Emails: Consumers Say Only 5% Of Messages Are Well-Timed To Their Needs

Brands and consumers have different ideas of what is relevant, judging by State of Offer Relevancy, a two-pronged study released Wednesday by Formation, conducted by Forrester. 

The findings spell trouble for email planners who are trying to meet a poorly aligned offer strategy.

For starters, consumers say only 33% of offers they receive are relevant. Yet 92% of brands believe they sending relevant promotions, and 97% feel relevance is important.  

Even worse, from the email perspective, only 5% of consumers say the email offers they receive are well-timed to their needs. 

But they hope for the best — 83% will buy from firms that send relevant offers, and 62% have been motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic to reply to offers. 

Ask consumers what prompts them to buy from a brand, and they say:

The offer/promotion is a good value — 31% 

The offers/promotions match my current needs — 18% 



I’m interested in the product they are marketing — 17%

Ask marketers what they are most focused on, and they reply:

  • Consumers are interested in the product we are marketing — 17%
  • The offer/promotion feels relevant to the customer — 13%
  • The offer/promotion matches the customer’s demographics — 13%

The answers to both questions reflect the top three choices. 

Brands acknowledge freely that they lack the tools and technology to achieve relevance — 49% say so.

Their biggest challenges include these:

  • We can’t react to customer interactions fast enough — 54%
  • We don’t have enough analytical resources to optimize offers at our scale — 51%  
  • It takes too long to create and/or deploy new offers — 51%

Christian Selchau-Hansen, CEO of, concludes that “the world of loyalty is fundamentally changing, and companies that don’t improve how they engage with current customers will lose market share and, ultimately, revenue.”

Selchau-Hansen continues, “This is precisely why it is critical for brands to improve the relevancy of their offers, enabling them to capitalize on the surge of consumer purchasing that is coming as the world re-opens for business.”

Formation and Forrester surveyed 252 decision makers responsible for executing loyalty initiatives, and 1,000 adults earlier this year.

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