Email Users Want More From Marketers (and Their Inbox)

Subscribers around the globe know their importance to marketers, and would like to be treated accordingly. They have become more discerning about handing out their email address, and they look to marketers to customize experiences based on self reported data as well as insight passed through cookie-based technology and purchase patterns. Although there are some regional differences around the globe, the bottom line is that email marketing is welcome most when it’s used as a way to connect with customers, rather than just broadcast information.

These are some of the findings of a new global consumer attitude survey published by Return Path partner e-Dialog. The “Global Perspectives” study includes interviews with nearly 13,000 consumers in 13 countries in early April this year. Given how rapidly digital marketing technology is advancing, and how much consumer expectation and participation with brands is changing, particularly for global brands, “e-Dialog carried out this study to help marketers navigate a steady path through these unsettled waters,” says e-Dialog Managing Director-International Simone Barratt in the report’s forward.

The study urges marketers to consider four strategic imperatives as they use this data to prioritize opportunities to connect more deeply with customers. These themes are presented as Collaboration, Expertise, Relevance and Interactivity – but all four basically boil down to adopting a new attitude and marketing approach:

1. Embrace email subscribers as collaborators in a quest to uncover and fulfill their information and product needs

2. Nurture the marketing team’s skills and talents to incorporate new channels like mobile

3. Define “relevance” in terms of subscriber happiness and success, rather than by product development or merchandise schedules.

I found much in the report to ponder, and encourage you to download it. Some interesting takeaways from the data include:

  • Many consumers use their mobile to check personal email while sitting at their desktop. Wow.
  • Mobile strategies are in their infancy here in the US but marketers are well counseled to be cautious about trying to copy programs from one region of the globe to another, as availability and adoption of mobile apps and commerce are so vastly different between continents.
  • “Email is the consumers online fingerprint” – giving them access to social networks, commerce and other information. It’s a handshake for a relationships with a brand. That means that marketers must ensure messages are worthy of time spent in an inbox established as a gateway to personal or business connections.
  • Consumers are well aware of their power. “More than half of survey respondents globally indicate that they become brand advocates or detractors when they pass along content related to their experiences,” the report says.
  • The report offers some data to support the idea of email as a hub for marketing. First, email has wide penetration. “E-mail continues to be an indispensable tool for consumers and marketers around the world. In our survey, we found that 96% of consumers across borders continue to use e-mail heavily. Of the 13 countries surveyed, consumers in South Korea reported the highest percentage of having a personal e-mail account at 99%. The lowest reported percentage is Italy at 87%,” the report says. Second, email is about engagement, which subscribers in every country are counting on marketers to provide more of.

Check out the full “Global Perspectives” report from e-Dialog here. Let me know what you think and add any thoughts in the comments section below.

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