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Monday, 01 October 2018 12:15

Consumers ignore marketing emails due to inbox overload: report

Consumers ignore marketing emails due to inbox overload: report Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Many consumers rank email as their preferred channel for brand communications, but over half ignore marketing emails due to inbox overload, according to a new study.

According to the study, from US-based Yes Lifecycle Marketing, 47% of consumers prefer getting their brand communications by email, but 55% ignore the emails when they hit their inboxes.

For its Surviving the Retail Apocalypse report, Yes Lifecycle Marketing surveyed more than 1000 consumers of all ages and found that in addition to inbox overload, subscribers ignore marketing emails because of irrelevant product recommendations (50%) and content (41%).

According to Yes Lifecycle, the findings indicate that many retailers still fail to understand consumers' preferences in terms of mailing frequency, timing and content – and even though consumers will ignore emails that fall short of their expectations, 42% reported that they don't unsubscribe from these communications, “instead, they scan the subject lines to determine whether they'll open the email”.

"Growing competition and shifting consumer expectations prompt marketers to start delivering more relevant content, better personalisation and unique experiences in order to move consumers along each stage of the customer journey – from awareness to loyalty," said Jim Sturm, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing.

"Brands must get creative with their programs and use the wealth of customer data at their disposal to identify customers' preferences and interests in order to keep them engaged."

The report also revealed that creating data-driven customer experiences remains a major challenge for many retailers.

Thirty percent of consumers said they had received recommendations for products they'd already purchased and, in addition, one in five (19%) consumers have received messages targeted to the residents of cities they do not live in, which Lifecycle says indicates that marketers aren't adequately collecting and using customer data to personalise communications.

"With the dominance of Amazon and shifting consumer behaviour, retailers must evolve to meet shopper expectations," said Michael Iaccarino, chief executive and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing.

"Marketers must find the right technology and service partner to help them identify consumer preferences across channels and build data-driven strategies that capitalise on those preferences."

Additional findings from the report:

  • Thirty-three percent of subscribers ignore marketing emails if they don't offer a discount or free shipping, and 60% will purchase from emails that offer these incentives.
  • Only 37% say that the communications they receive from retailers are adequately personalised.
  • Centennials are more likely than all other generations to say they receive too many emails (68%).
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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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