The Conscientious Marketer: Don't Send Emails To People Who Have Unsubscribed

Despite the mushy talk about values, companies have not done much to build consumer trust during the pandemic, judging by The Rise Of the Responsible Marketer, a study by Dotdigital. 

Of the consumers polled, 75% feel companies could be doing more to protect their data. And 63% are wary about sharing personal details with brands. 

In fact, 56% became more suspicious about data use during the pandemic year, and 51% were more aware of it because they were shopping online more often.  

Worse, from the email perspective, 86% of consumers have received unsolicited emails or texts from firms with firms they had not shared any data with, and 36% have gotten messages even after unsubscribing.  

What’s more, 45% of U.S. shoppers had unsubscribed from a brand’s mailing lists because they were receiving too many marketing messages. And 37% had unsubscribed because the emails or texts were irrelevant.  



For 39% of consumers, the worst breach of faith is when they are sent communications even after opting out, according to a separate study by Alchemy Worx.

Such feelings quickly translate into commercial actions, Dotdigital reports: 72% are less likely to buy again from a brand that had been irresponsible with their data, and that number rises to 86% among people age 65+, versus 56% for 18- to-24-year-olds.  

Meanwhile, 66% worry that the data they give to brands could be compromised, and 67% fear it could be hacked when they’re passing it on. That concern is shared by 74% of people 65 and over, and 55% of 18- to-24-year-olds. 

They have reason to be nervous: 20% have experienced issues with data security, and 21% have reported having their data hacked. 

And only 44% believe firms store their data safely, and 25% don’t believe that they do — in fact, an equal percentage says brands lack the systems or processes to do so. In addition, 28% don’t feel their data has been kept securely when given to a company.  

The study also found that 68% are concerned their data will be passed on to third parties, and 69% are worried that it will be shared with other companies without consent. 

Here are some other things to note. The study argues that trust is also eroded by these factors:

  • Negative experience of the product or service — quality, price, value
  • Negative experience of the experience 
  • Negative reviews 
  • Bad behavior by the brand that directly affects the customer (e.g., data breaches) 
  • The brand’s perceived negative impact on the environment 
  • Late, inaccurate, no-show deliveries
  • Poor or lacking customer service
  • Inaccurate online listing 

“The world is changing and the shift to consumer-friendly marketing that respects privacy cannot be ignored,” states Tink Taylor, founder and president, dotdigital Group. “Embracing these changes and ensuring compliance naturally fosters trust is the key for consumers to share their data with a brand."

Dotdigital surveyed over 2,000 U.S. consumers in March of this year.



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