Privacy Pickle: Consumers Love Email, But Brands Must Avoid The Creep Factor

Email is the leading global driver of online sales — when done properly.  

Among consumers worldwide, 52% have made a purchase directly from an email they received in the last year -- a 4% increase YoY according to the 2023 Consumer Trends Index, a study by the newly rebranded Marigold in connection with Econsultancy.

Specifically, 38% of consumers have bought something from an email on mobile device -- a 3% hike YoY -- while 25% have purchased directly from an SMS.

Another 55% of shoppers have used their mobile phone in-store to research a possible purchase -- a 6% increase. But 50% have searched for products in-store, only to purchase elsewhere -- also resulting in a 6% increase.

Moreover, email outperforms banner ads and SMS by 108%, the study finds. Brands may also be heartened by this finding — that 77% of previously loyal customers say they can be won back. This can be done with personalized emails or texts. 



But marketers risk irritating consumers with these tactics, whatever the channel:

- Irrelevant content or offers — 49%

- Messaging that doesn’t reflect their wants or needs — 41% (a 2% hike)

- Messaging based on information they hadn’t shared directly with the brand — 35%

- Messaging that doesn’t recognize shopping or loyalty history—32% (a 3% hike over the previous year).

Moreover, many consumers are turned off by the “creep” factor.

For instance, 67% feel that ads based on location are creepy. And 61% feel that retargeting ads from third-party cookie tracking also make them suspicious.  In addition, 63% object to ads related to something they talked about near a smart device, a 3% hike over the prior year.

On the cool side, 79% approve of recommendations based on past purchases. Also, 60% like receiving personalized offers after staying on a brand’s site for 2+ minutes. And 65% feel an email reminder or ad about an abandoned shopping cart are cool. 

Another positive finding is that 75% of consumers say receive just the right amount of messaging on loyalty programs, or would like more — a 6% improvement. And 73% are happy with the frequency of VIP offers or would welcome more, a 7% boost.

When it comes to offers of personalized treats, 77% are satisfied with the volume or want more.

On another front, 17% of brands want brands to behave responsibly, and there has been a 6% increase YOY in those who choose brands that do so. 

Marigold surveyed 6,833 consumers across Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, U.K., U.S. and Spain) in October-November 2022.  

In a separate announcement, CM Group announced that it is uniting all the company’s solutions, technologies and services under the Marigold brand.

The goal is to bring together “marketing solutions across email, mobile and loyalty for brands of all shapes and sizes to build long-lasting customer relationships,” states Wellford Dillard, CEO of Marigold.

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