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Study: Brands aren’t meeting consumer standards for email personalization

By now, consumers are well aware of the potential for how brands can use customer data to communicate with them in a more personalized way. Every day, in their inboxes and on their phones, they bear witness to both the best and worst examples of brands trying to bring more relevance to their cross-channel marketing. And each time they receive a brand message that utilizes their data in a clever, positive, and responsible manner, it raises their expectations for future brand communications.

A recent study by Formation — “Brand Loyalty 2020: The Need for Hyper-Individualization” — makes this case forcefully, through the eyes of the consumers themselves. Their findings reflect a need for brands to put considerable effort and expertise toward deep personalization, perhaps even more so going forward from what’s been a disruptive year.

Personalization increases engagement

In the competitive environment that enterprise brands find themselves in, personalization has become far more than a nice to have — it’s essential because consumers expect it, and because it works.

Formation found that 73% of consumers said the brands they engage with the most recognize them on a 1:1 level, and 75% said the marketing emails they open most frequently contain macrosegmentation (name, basic demographics) and/or microsegmentation (lifestyle, browsing behavior, past purchases, etc.) tactics. These tactics — when performed thoughtfully — are increasing engagement and loyalty to the brand. If you’re sitting on the sidelines, your competitors most certainly aren’t.

And that’s confirmed with another of Formation’s findings: 77% said their retail brand interactions across all channels are personalized either somewhat or extremely frequently. This means two things: 1) brands are regularly using personalization tactics in marketing communications to customers; and 2) basic personalization isn’t going to be a differentiator for your brand. You need to get creative, and figure out how to use your customer data in a way that helps you to stand out.

Consumers want to be catered to on a 1:1 level

Consumers are sending the message that they want more than mere personalization. Technology has advanced to the point where basic personalization tactics are so common and expected as to not gain your brand much of any advantage. Consumer expectations continue to rise.

In Formation’s research, they found that 79% of respondents indicated the more personalization tactics a brand uses, the more loyal they are to that brand. That is to say that, if you’re being responsible in the way you’re using the data, it’s difficult to overdo it with personalization. MessageGears’ suite of products constitutes the only customer marketing platform that connects directly to your data and allows you to take your personalization game to the next level, particularly if you consolidate your data in a modern data warehouse like Snowflake.

Brands aren’t meeting this standard

As much as consumers want their experience to be personalized, what they’re finding is that brands — by and large — simply aren’t meeting the standards they expect them to meet.

Formation found that only 20% of respondents felt they receive marketing emails that “extremely frequently” feature content relevant to their specific lifestyle, interests, attitudes, or past purchases. And just 18% reported receiving marketing emails that contain content so unique to their needs that they feel it recognizes them as individuals “extremely frequently.”

So, more than 80% of consumers are indicating the brands that they hear from the most — brands they freely gave their data to and invited them into their inbox — aren’t making them feel known and understood on a frequent basis. That’s despite the fact that the technology undoubtedly exists to allow Super Senders to personalize at that level.

The fact is, too many enterprise brands and Marketing teams settle for the easy marketing cloud ESP solution and accept that their data isn’t accessible enough either because they don’t know a better solution exists or because they think switching to something better would be too hard/expensive/time consuming. But MessageGears is easy to switch to, and has a wholly unique solution to the problems Super Senders face when trying to meeting consumer standard for personalization. It’s time for a change.

Jeff Haws

As MessageGears' Senior Marketing Manager, Jeff is focused on ensuring the execution of the Marketing team's vision, with customer messaging and communication at the forefront. He's passionate about understanding the way data impacts messaging, and creating content that helps marketers do their jobs better.

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