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As marketers continue to invest in tools and technologies that enable personalization at scale, a closer look at how consumers are responding to this approach will give them an edge in increasing the ROI of these programs. This report highlights how consumers in the U.S. are most likely to engage with brands and what types of messages resonate most across age groups. Among the key findings, the survey reveals that millennials are far more likely to take action based on an email, reinforcing the need for a data-driven approach to segmenting email campaigns.

Chapter 1

Key Findings from the Report

 

  • More than half of those surveyed in the U.S. check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their preferred way to receive updates from brands.
  • 76% of consumers agree that retail brands are sending relevant, accurate emails which reflect their shopping preferences, location or purchase history.
  • Across verticals, the top reasons consumers will open an email from a brand are personalization and discounts. Consumers are just slightly more inclined to open an email offering a discount (72%) than one with a personalized subject line (62%).
  • Millennials are far more likely to take action on a relevant email than any other age group. Across verticals, the largest gap was in donating to nonprofits. 58% of millennials “always” or “most of the time” donated to a nonprofit based on an email while just 18% of respondents 55+ did the same.

Chapter 2

Consumers Still Prefer Brands to Communicate via Email

 

Key finding: There is no doubt, consumers still love email. More than half (52.7%) of those surveyed in the U.S. check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their favorite way to receive communication from brands.

When asked to rank their preferred way to receive updates from brands, email was consistently ranked highest in the “preferred a lot” category (compared to direct mail, mobile apps, social media, push notifications, and mobile wallet).

Here is a breakdown of how email preference ranks across verticals:

 

PREFERENCE OF COMMUNICATIONS
FROM RETAIL BRANDS


PREFERENCE OF COMMUNICATIONS
FROM TRAVEL & HOSPITALITY BRANDS


PREFERENCE OF COMMUNICATIONS
FROM ENTERTAINMENT BRANDS


PREFERENCE OF COMMUNICATIONS
FROM NONPROFIT BRANDS


PREFERENCE OF COMMUNICATIONS
DIGITAL MEDIA & PUBLISHING BRANDS

Chapter 3

Marketers are Delivering on Personalization

 

Key finding: 76% of consumers agree that retail brands are sending relevant, accurate emails which reflect their shopping preferences, location or purchase history.

AGREEMENT THAT BRANDS ARE
SENDING RELEVANT EMAILS ACROSS INDUSTRIES

Companies across all industries are delivering on the promise of personalized emails — communicating timely, relevant information that satisfies their audience and increases open rates. But, retail remains on top by a wide margin, beating the travel, entertainment, nonprofit and media industries when it comes to personalization.

Overall, consumers overwhelmingly prefer to receive personalized emails across verticals. 

PREFERENCE OF EMAIL PERSONALIZATION
FROM BRANDS ACROSS INDUSTRIES

When looking at email personalization preferences among millennials versus baby boomers across verticals, millennials prefer it by a wide margin.

PREFERENCE OF EMAIL PERSONALIZATION
FROM BRANDS BY AGE GROUP ACROSS INDUSTRIES

Chapter 4

Along With Personalized Subject Lines, Discounts Drive the Most Opens

 

Key finding: Across verticals, the top reasons consumers will open an email from a brand are personalization and discounts. Consumers are just slightly more inclined to open an email offering a discount (72%) than one with a personalized subject line (62%).

CONSUMER PREFERENCE BY EMAIL ATTRIBUTE
ACROSS INDUSTRIES

Marketers are beginning to deliver on the promise of personalization, and customers are taking note. Just as powerful, however, is their response to a specific type of email – discounts – that ranks as one of the top reasons for subscribing to an email newsletter, engaging with brands and grabbing consumers’ attention with subject lines.

 

Chapter 5

Millennials Lead the Way in Making Purchasing Decisions Based on Email

 

Key finding: Preferences based on personalization and type of content received from brands did not vary widely among age groups. However, when it comes to taking action based on an email, millennials are far more likely to do so. 58% of millennials “always” or “most of the time” donated to a nonprofit while just 18% of respondents 55+ did the same.

Even with the variety of customer communication channels, including social media, email remains the most engaging method for communication among millennials.

Personalized marketing makes email an even more powerful tool for this demographic that is quick to make an impulsive donation to a nonprofit or book a trip — an impossible task to achieve without the data necessary to create relevant campaigns at scale.

When it comes to purchasing something from a brand or donating to a nonprofit based on an email, here’s how often each age group “always” or “most of the time” decides to take action (like make a purchase or donation) based on a brand’s email. 

PROPENSITY TO TAKE ACTION BY AGE GROUP
ACROSS INDUSTRIES

Chapter 6

Conclusion

 

The bottom line? Marketers must know their audience to run a successful campaign. Consumers prefer when brands personalize their email marketing campaigns, across age groups and verticals, and are seeking more of it. Brands have an opportunity to segment and personalize email campaigns to drive even more success and engagement, particularly with millennials. This trend will continue over time, as email continues to reign as one of the most effective tools to engage with consumers in a personalized way, at scale.

Chapter 7

Survey Methodology

 

Campaign Monitor commissioned Market Cube, a research panel company, to conduct an online survey of 1,003  consumers in the United States. All participants completed the survey from May 18 – 29, 2017.

Survey participants were invited to take the survey through an email invitation. Panel respondents were incented to participate via the panel’s established points program. There were five screeners for the survey to determine eligibility.

All participants were 18 years of age or older, own a smartphone, subscribe to at least two business emails from at least two categories across retail, travel and hospitality, entertainment, nonprofit, and/or media and publishing brands, and access personal email at least once per day.

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