Guest blog by Tim Bond, Head of insight and PR, DMA: how do we engage customers across the range of channels and devices available to marketers today? According to the DMA, one channel may still hold the key… 

We can all see that we’re living in an increasingly connected and data-driven world. We have computers in our pockets that can do incredible things – sometimes even make phone calls – and a myriad of new and exciting ways for marketers to try to engage customers. 

However, the latest insights from our ‘Consumer Email Tracker 2020’ report highlight one channel as continuing to be the most popular way to receive marketing from brands. Across all the new channels and devices available to marketers today, it’s email that remains the key to unlocking these multi-channel customer engagement strategies. 

The data reveals that email remains the best channel across a range of contexts, be that pre- or post-purchase scenarios. The number of people saying they prefer email is almost twice as much as any other channel, with almost half of all consumers (46%). This is compared to just a quarter saying they prefer post (26%) and a similar proportion showing a preference for text messages or face-to-face contact (both 24%). 

The research also delves into consumers’ perceptions, preferences and dislikes when it comes to email. The survey asked over 2,000 UK adults their opinion about the email addresses they have, how they use them and the emails they receive from brands. In late 2019, people estimated the number of emails they receive, on average, as 54.9 per week to their personal inboxes, down from 73.3 in 2017. Around half of respondents (56%) also believe more than half of these emails are marketing messages from brands. 

However, despite the importance and preference for the channel, just 13% of people said that over half the emails they receive are useful to them. The most cited reason for unsubscribing from a brand also remains receiving too many emails (57%). 

What customers want 

Content-wise customers like a clear transactional link behind the marketing emails they receive, such as discounts or offers (65%), email receipts (59%) and advanced notice of new products/services or sales (43%). In other words, customers are looking for practical content that’s able to facilitate their interaction with brands. 

The main reasons given for signing up to receive emails from a brand echo this, with discounts and offers (48%) coming top. However, loyalty also clearly plays a role, as simply being a regular customer already (43%), being sent email receipts (40%), or joining some form of loyalty programme (40%) are also key drivers. 

It’s clear from these findings that email remains at the heart of brands’ ability to communicate with customers, but they also highlight key areas where marketers can improve, such as relevancy and frequency of contact. Whether they’re considering a purchase, have just made one or need some help, our latest findings showcase email’s ability to help brands engage across the customer journey. 

This article was first published by the Mature Marketing Association in February 2020 

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