Face it, there are always going to be complaints about marketing-oriented e-mails. Just as in the “bad-old-days” of junk postal mail, consumers are conditioned to pass negative judgment on the volume of promotional-oriented e-mails that flood their inboxes.
True to form, according to a new study by global business, technology and marketing advisory firm Forrester Research, consumer attitudes about e-mail marketing are pretty negative.
Here’s what a sampling of U.S. respondents age 18 or older reported on the “minus” side of the ledger:
- I delete most e-mail advertising without reading it: ~42% of respondents reported
- I receive too many e-mail offers and promotions: ~39%
- There’s nothing of interest: ~38%
- I have unsubscribe from unsolicited lists: ~37%
- I wonder how companies get my e-mail address: ~29%
- It’s difficult to unsubscribe from e-lists: ~24%
There’s far less to show on the “plus” side:
- It’s a great way to discover new products and promotions: ~24% of respondents reported
- I read e-mails “just in case”: ~19%
- I forward marketing e-mails to friends sometimes: ~12%
- I purchase items advertised through e-mail: ~7%
I wasn’t surprised at all by these finds.
What’s interesting, however, is that the attitudes of consumers are actually trending a bit better than they were in previous Forrester field studies.
Specifically, respondents exhibited improved attitudes in the following areas:
- Fewer respondents are deleting most marketing-oriented e-mail promos without reading them (~42% vs. ~44% in 2012 and ~59% in 2010).
- Fewer respondents report that marketing e-mails offer “nothing of interest” (~38% vs. ~41% in 2012).
The percentages are also slightly better for the consumers today who consider e-mails as a good way to discover new products and promotions. Additionally, the percentages are lower on complaints about receiving too many e-mail offers.
The bottom line on these results: It looks as if consumers have come to terms with the pluses and minuses of e-mail marketing. As they once did with postal mail, they recognize the negative attributes as a fact of life — something that just “comes with the territory” for anyone who is online.