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73% of consumers say email is their preferred marketing channel

New research reveals that nearly three quarters (73%) of consumers state email is their preferred marketing channel. Out of eight marketing channels, email comes out on top despite industry concerns about the effect of GDPR. Media coverage has clearly had an impact, with 90% of respondents stating they are now aware of the new data laws, but the spike in GDPR-related emails ahead of 25 May doesn’t appear to have impacted consumer preference for the channel.

The DMA’s latest Customer Engagement - Acquisition and the consumer mindset report examines the relationship between members of the public and brands during moments where consumers question whether to try a new brand or stick with what they know.

Email is the most popular channel by a significant margin – 73% of consumers named it their top two (out of eight) in terms of preference. The next most popular channel was post, with 41% of respondents selecting this. Other channels included social media, text message, online (i.e. web banners), face-to-face, messenger apps (i.e. Facebook Messenger) and phone.

Marketers should bear in mind to keep messages simple and relevant to consumers, as nearly two fifths (38%) of consumers rate simple to understand information as something that helps them to trust in the marketing messages they receive.

The relevance of marketing messages is positively correlated with trust across marketing channels. Meaning that when people find a message or offer relevant to them they are more likely to show a stronger level of trust in that channel.

“It is encouraging to see that GDPR hasn’t had a negative impact on consumer perceptions of email marketing. Evidently, it remains a key way to engage customers when it is used to promote the right opportunities at the right times. Marketers should take note and ensure all their communications use simple, tailored messages,” said Rachel Aldighieri, MD of the DMA.

When responding to an interesting marketing message consumers tend to respond in several ways. 48% say they will search for the company website, 41% bear the information in mind for later use, and 37% will click on a link in the message. Clearly, by contacting consumers with messages that are relevant to them, businesses can influence consumer behaviour both directly (i.e. a click on an email link) and indirectly (i.e. consideration of the brand).

“Email is such a great channel to engage consumers with. Shoppers know where they stand with it. When used intelligently, it drives not just positive customer experience but amazing ROI,” said Komal Helyer, Marketing Director at Pure360.

Trust is a barrier to consumer’s adopting new technology

The main barrier limiting interest in smart home assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, is a reluctance to share data - with 41% of respondents stating this. Among those who are interested in owning or currently own a smart home assistant, 45% want to be able to verify orders each time, compared to just 24% that would be happy for them to automatically reorder products on their behalf.

Aldighieri summarised: “Technology often shapes an organisation’s customer engagement strategy, but our findings show that trust will influence how receptive and likely consumers are to use it. The message from this research is clear – to increase customer engagement companies need to be customer-centric, building trust by making their messaging targeted, relevant and the benefits clear.”

To find out more about the research, visit: https://dma.org.uk/research/acquisition-and-the-consumer-mindset-2018

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