Too many firms still not hitting the mark with their email marketing, research shows


Share on LinkedIn

New research from customer insight specialist GI Insight reveals that more than half of UK consumers are not receiving well targeted emails. A UK-wide survey found that 53% of the British public feel that almost all the direct emails they receive from companies and organisations is not relevant to them.

The GI Insight survey of 2,000 UK consumers also shows that while the industry can certainly improve its email targeting, there is ground for optimism in the fact that 73% of respondents declared that they had given a company that they already purchase from permission to email them.

Consumers, however, are much less warm to firms they have not bought from before, the research shows. Only 51% of respondents say they give permission to companies they have not purchased from before to contact them via email.

Andy Wood, managing director of GI Insight, comments: “The results of this survey show that while some firms are devoting more and more effort to personalising and targeting communications, there is still some way to go before the majority of the British public is satisfied with the direct email efforts of the brands they connect with.

“For email to work as an effective medium for both the consumer and organisation, drilling down into customer data and using that obtained insight to more accurately target and personalise the email should become the norm. When a consumer receives an email from a brand they have entrusted with their email address, they clearly expect something more than a carpet-bomb approach. They don’t expect messages that are totally irrelevant to them – or redundant.”

A number of significant trends are also uncovered by the report in terms of gender, age, income level/spending power and geography:

• Women are more likely to see the majority of the corporate email they are sent as relevant than men, with only 50% of female consumers saying nearly all such messages are off-target compared to 55% of male respondents

• Consumers 35 years of age and older are more likely to see the vast majority of their email as irrelevant than younger age groups, but the oldest (age 45-plus) are more likely to give a firm they buy from permission to email them

• The research also showed that the higher the household income, the better the targeting – with only 22% of the highest earners surveyed saying that most of the email they receive from companies is irrelevant

• Consumers from households in the highest income bracket are far more likely to give firms they buy from permission to contact them by email

• Respondents from London and the South East are more likely see the marketing emails they receive as relevant than in regions with fewer affluent households

These noteworthy trends reflect that marketers are perhaps focusing more of their targeting efforts on the more affluent households – boosting the relevance for commercial email recipients in wealthier regions, and those in older, higher earning age groups.

Wood notes: “The negative effects of irrelevant email messaging can be really damaging to the brand in terms of reputation, increasing unsubscribes and even lost customers. While this is less of an issue for targeting the older, more affluent consumer, when mistargeted emails are sent to the younger, cash-tight customers, the ability to build a long-term, positive relationship is seriously diminished. When you think that they too could be the affluent, older consumers of tomorrow, the impact can be seriously far-reaching.”

He adds: “What this research does highlight is that the consumer is well aware that the days of easy, quick and cheap email communications that are blasted out to all and sundry should really be well in the past. This research should ring warning bells for any organisation where customer insight is not applied intelligently and effectively to this crucial channel.”


For further information or a copy of the management summary, please contact:
Hugh Filman or Dina Morton at Lindsell Marketing
[email protected] / [email protected]
020 7402 0510

About GI Insight
GI Insight specialises in database marketing and loyalty schemes, having created and managed more retail loyalty programmes than anyone else in the UK. The Leicester-based company offers a full range of database marketing services including consultancy, database design/build/host, data capture, analysis, segmentation, profiling, campaign execution and measurement, available as a whole or on a ‘pick and mix’ basis. The analysis and interpretation of your sales and customer data enables you to influence customer behaviour. This knowledge helps you to reliably increase profitability by:

• Getting more new customers (acquisition)
• Retaining existing customers
• Getting existing customers to (retention)
o Spend more per transaction
o Spend more often

For more information, please visit

News Editor
CustomerThink offers a free news posting service for press releases relevant to our community. To submit your press release to our news editor, send an email to [email protected] with the press release headline and main content in the email subject line and body, respectively. That's it! Approved press releases will appear in our news category within one business day of submission.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here