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Email marketing study: How consumers view marketing emails [VIDEO]

Email service provider BlueHornet released a study recently about Consumer Views of Email Marketing, which includes highlights not only as stats, charts and takeaways, but also adds a human touch with a video of consumer interviews (including outtakes!).

The study reaffirms the importance of email as an interactive medium. It also warns that users can tell when email marketers have tried to skimp on making emails look great and work properly, which means that “your time saved is consumers’ time wasted”. Respondents interviewed in the video were unanimous when it came to how to handle an email that doesn’t look right when opened: They simply delete it. Users also expect their email experience to be personalized and valuable so their tolerance for irrelevant content is very low (surprise surprise).

One of the nicest things about this study is the concept behind the study itself. So many studies these days promote best practices born out of the interpretation of data, which is of course super important, but it can also cause marketers to think of their subscriber behavior in terms of ‘stats’ and not in terms of emotional reactions. This study is a nice reminder for marketers to think of their email recipients not only as subscribers, but also as people who expect to benefit in some way from each and every email they receive, whether it be a discount, coupon, product sneak peek, interesting news, or sheer entertainment.

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Email is the #1 preferred marketing communication channel (again)

ExactTarget's 2012 Channel Preference Survey

ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey. Click to view larger.

Whether you’re an email skeptic or a loyal fan, there’s no denying that when it comes to direct marketing communications, email not only has what it takes – it is what it takes to successfully message your audience.

According to the 2012 Channel Preference Survey by ExactTarget, the six factors used to determine consumers’ channel preferences are:

  1. Content – Is this a marketing or personal message?
  2. Privacy – Will conversations be protected?
  3. Immediacy – Is the message urgent in nature?
  4. Formality – Is professionalism required with this message?
  5. Accessibility – Should this message be saved for reference later?
  6. Initiation – Who started the conversation? And how?

The results crowned email as the clear winner, which we’ve known since the last study of this kind in 2008. But the amazing thing is to see by how much email is winning.

First, a key takeaway for marketers: The personal communication channels that respondents preferred don’t automatically carry over for marketing messages. And it’s no more simply understood than by examining the way email and text messaging each ranked.

Those two communication channels were the top two preferred for personal use: Email ranks first with 45% of respondents in all age categories expressing this preference. Text messaging came in second with 36% in favor. But watch what happens when the question asks about the preferred marketing communication channel:

  1. Email preferred by 77% of respondents
  2. Direct mail preferred by 9%
  3. Text message preferred by 5%

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