When we released findings of a consumer survey earlier this month that showed 90% of UK consumers had unsubscribed from retailer communications, it was a familiar story to a lot of the journalists we spoke to.
Writing for MediaPost, Sean Hargrave commented, “Yes, my friends, we’re back to ‘batch and dispatch’ or ‘spray and pray.’ It’s the topic that just won’t go away because so many brands are living in the moment and not thinking a little further down the line.”
Sean is exactly right to highlight the short-termism that is apparent in a lot of poorly targeted consumer comms. Sure, a retailer might make a handful of sales from the people receiving this tirade of emails, texts and social media. But it’s unlikely that this would even offset the damage being done to the relationship with those consumers who perceive it as spam and ignore it, or unsubscribe from it. Let alone make an increased number of sales!
This undermines a retailer’s spend on direct marketing ROI and can turn customers off a brand altogether as they quickly become disengaged, owing to the fact they’re not being treated like an individual. Modern marketing should be looking to harness real-time data to drive more meaningful, memorable and effective conversations with customers. Retailers must focus on crafting contextual, highly personalised content that draws the customer in, rather than sees their eyes glaze over.
By leveraging data, from transactions and interactions that customers have already had with a brand, retailers can automate personalised messages to their customers. By consolidating CRM data and marketing activity across multiple channels, retailers can ensure consumers aren’t bombarded with irrelevant messaging.
Interestingly, a number of journalists, like Helen Leggatt at BizReport, made the assumption that our research referred only to email communications. The reality is though, retailers are using any number of channels to send irrelevant and overly-frequent communications to consumers and our research looked at the whole communications landscape with its line of questioning.
I can’t emphasis enough the importance of retailers communicating with consumers holistically, rather than in siloed communications channels, especially when the communications channel itself may be directly responsible for a consumers initial reaction to brand communications.
Personalisation based on the whole customer profile is essential to maximise real time customer engagement and marketing messages. That means bringing real time demographic data, location triggers, channel preferences, behavioural information – and more – into a single platform like the Engage Hub to manage information better.
While it was clear from our research that email remains the preferred communications channel of choice in many instances, there are clear variations based on demographics, and in some cases, this is shifting to other less traditional means of communication. Identifying the right channel to engage with consumers is as big a factor as the content of a message itself, and that needs to be based on insight into customer preferences.
This level of personalisation in customer engagement goes a long way towards building and reaffirming the customer-brand relationship in an age when loyalty is not guaranteed.
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