Marketers ‘destroy customer relationships online’

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the problem with PR email, the results of a survey on people’s attitudes to the email that PR agencies and others send them.

The survey paints a dismal picture of how email is used in the PR business.

Now, here comes an equally bleak picture on what marketers do with email about their brands according to e-Orchard, a survey by London creative agency Stephens Francis Whitson.

Brand Republic reports:

[…] The report claims to have uncovered evidence of brand owners bombarding customers with irrelevant, mistimed and inappropriate emails.

It splits the brands into ‘saints’ and ‘sinners’, with the likes of Mini, BA and Ocado showing how it should be done.

While economic pressures are driving more brands online, many of the companies in the survey "are sending out blanket email campaigns simply because it is cheap to do so," the report claims.

The e-Orchard survey covers companies operating across a range of sectors such as retail, financial services, FMCG, travel, entertainment and leisure and argues that some brands surveyed showed:

  • Scant evidence of differentiated communications depending on customer knowledge, behaviour or value
  • Poor co-ordination of on and offline communications
  • Dangerously high frequency of highly repetitive, hard sell messages
  • Brands stuck on transmit: little attempt to engage in any genuine dialogue with customers
  • Rare examples of genuinely clever, creative, smart brand and commercial thinking

This looks like a worse picture than that suggested by the PR email survey.

Small comfort for anyone.

[Photo by cole007, used under Creative Commons license.]

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. RosalynPalmer

    This articulates what I’ve been thinking for some time. I could add greatly to the list of sinners who email me day in day out at work with variations on the same stuff. It is so the antithesis of engaging me. I will read your reports with interest. Thanks

  2. Slowing Down the Demands of Email | TigerTwoTiger

    […] Neville Hobson demonstrates that this situation has been made even worse by careless marketers who seem to have forgotten the softly, softly approach and, perhaps in a recession-induced panic, have become shriller, more persistent and more intrusive with their email marketing. I can’t help but wonder whether this spells the beginning of the end of good, effective email campaigns, or whether this is simply an indication of the current times which will pass along with the financial crisis? […]

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