Merkle released its annual e-mail marketing study, 'View from the Inbox'. Conducted in conjunction with national survey research firm Harris Interactive, the study is designed to measure and track attitudes and behaviors toward permission-based e-mail among U.S. consumers. Permission-based e-mail marketing (PEM) is a marketing approach used to reach consumers who voluntarily sign-up to receive updates, offers and information from select organizations.
Now in its sixth year, the study points to several trends in consumers’ attitudes and use of permission-based e-mail marketing:
- Consumers feel in control: Most consumers (88%) feel mostly or completely in control of their inboxes – up nine points from 2004.
- General attitudes toward corporate e-mail are positive: More people (58%) believe e-mail is a great way for companies to stay in touch – up from 45% three years ago.
- E-mail is effective: Half of the respondents made an online purchase in the previous year as a result of permission-based marketing – up 3 percentage points from one year ago
- E-mail can influence decisioning: Half of respondents reported that a company that does a good job with e-mail influenced their decision to do business – up 6% points from last year. However, e-mail can also close doors: About one-third (32%) have stopped doing business with at least one company as a result of poor e-mail marketing practices.
- Relevancy is in the eye of the beholder: Consumers (41%) consider transaction confirmation emails to be most relevant, followed by account summary emails (18%).
For the '2008 View from the Inbox' report, Harris Interactive surveyed 2,512 U.S. adults age 18 and over who check and/or send e-mail at least once a week. The maximum margin of error for the study is +/- 2.0% and the confidence level used to report comparisons between sub-segments of respondents is 95%.
Lori Connolly, Director of Research and Analytics in Merkle’s Interactive Services group, said, "Merkle’s 2008 'View from the Inbox' study outlines interesting and important trends, while giving marketers a firsthand look into how consumers perceive permission-based e-mails. For example, we found there is a substantial gap between what marketers believe is relevant to the consumer, and what consumers rate as valuable. Traditionally, marketers believed that relevancy meant pushing content that is based on stated preferences or behavior, but the study shows that companies need to update their view of what is relevant. By using consumer research to guide strategy, marketers can close this gap."
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