Without Personalization, Consumers Don't Get What They Want From Brands

A gap exists between what consumers want and expect from how brand communicate with them, and what marketers think will suffice.

The Cordial Cross-Channel Marketing Study set out to show how marketers should explore what motivates consumers, approaches marketers take, and how messaging strategies need to evolve to personalize experiences.

The consumer data is from an online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Cordial. The survey data is from 550 U.S. marketers. The commerce benchmarks are based on over 30 billion messages across 285 million consumers.

It's known that shoppers seek more information through searches, emails and texts, providing a clear opportunity to reach consumers through multiple channels, but consumers may be on overload from an abundance of messages.

While consumers want information, marketers need data to give it to them, something they don't get enough of these days.



Cordial's study found 30% of U.S. consumers who shop in response to emails said they signed up to receive more emails and communication during the pandemic than they did prior, while 31% who shop in response to text-message offers said they signed up to receive more text messages.

Some 62% of brands said they grew their email subscriber list. Still, 82% said they will increase the number of emails they send this year. Also, 49% grew their SMS subscription list, with 75% saying they will increase the number of text messages they send to subscribers, according to the data.

While consumers may be getting more emails and SMS messages, the infrequency of their engagement with the messages may be a sign they are not getting what they want. Some 83% of consumers say they have shopped in response to emails from brands, and 67% say they’ve shopped in response to text messages from brands.

While consumers are willing to engage and make purchases based on the communications they receive, doing so may not yet be the norm.

Only 15% of consumers say they always or often shop from emails sent from brands and only 13% say they always or often shop based on the text messages they receive. Some 43% said they sometimes shop in response to emails, and 29% said they sometimes shop in response to texts from brands.

Consumer burnout may be an opportunity to find value in customizing content based on individual actions. Consumers who feel the messages they receive are personalized, are nearly twice as likely to purchase based on an email or text received.

While personalization has been top-of-mind for retail marketers, only 34% of U.S. consumers who shop in response to emails from brands say most of the emails they have received from brands in the past six months have been personalized, and another 13% simply aren’t sure. The same applies to text messages from brands with only 38% of consumers who shop in response to text messaging offers from brands saying most of the messages they received from brands in the past six months are personalized.

It takes data to create a personalized experience.

Marketers, 74%, cite some type of obstacle to sending email and text messages that are highly personalized. Some 12% say “we’re unable to access the data we need when we need it,” and 14% cite data formatting challenges, saying they “can’t use the data we have without time and effort to prepare it.” Others struggle with resources and skills.

These obstacles create a disconnected experience. Only 24% of marketers say they can send email and SMS through just one platform, while 35% say they need three or more platforms in order to send messages.

Only one-third of marketers say they are able to achieve real-time personalization, customizing the audience, attribute and behavior data they have in real-time. Only 23% of marketers say they are able to achieve real-time personalization with their text messaging programs.

Cordial suggests sending better messages, not more. Marketers can drive higher average order value (AOV) through use of triggers. Triggers drive a 43% average order value (AOV) lift on average and a 29% AOV lift for the median Cordial client. By targeting full-price sales such as new product alerts and high-margin add-ons or recommendations, marketers can drive more than just top-line results. Once the data exists in a cross-channel marketing platform, marketers can optimize for gross margin as a KPI through machine learning.

Marketers also should think about loyalty and lifetime value segmentation, brand affinity recommendations, or back in-stock alerts driven by critical supply chain data.

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