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Impersonal Communication Annoys Your Customers, Use Contextual Personalization Instead

by Kathy Stromberg  |  
April 13, 2015
  |  2,079 views

Consider the following email marketing statistics from a recent consumer research study of British consumers:

  • The average person's inbox has 260 unopened emails, 56% of which are from brands.
  • 60% of those people who never open brand emails admitted they would if the subject line were personalized.

The above facts tell us that consumers find impersonal marketing communications—let's call it "brand spam"—irrelevant as well as annoying.

Often, unread emails from brands are those the consumer initially elected to receive, a process we call "self-selecting." Self-selecting is defined as ignoring emails originally requested but no longer relevant by the time they reach the individual's inbox.

The solution to eliminating brand spam is to provide greater context for improved personalization. At Webtrends, we call this "contextual personalization."

Is Your Website Welcoming?


Some marketers believe that one-to-one personalized email is a Holy Grail, but you can engage with your customers on a different level in other areas. Your website, for example.

Do you provide a different experience to registered users compared to those who are unknown? For example, show a small banner saying, "Welcome back, (insert name)" to returning visitors.

Also, consider website personalization and social interaction to get closer to consumers through a less formal approach.


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Kathy Stromberg is vice-president of marketing at Webtrends.

LinkedIn: Kathy Stromberg

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  • by Katherine Tue Apr 14, 2015 via web

    Great article Stephanie. Contextual personalization definitely goes beyond email and is going to go hand in hand with the growing need for marketers to embrace and understand omnichannel marketing. You mentioned the proliferation of mobile devices – this is key. Our customers demand relevant information at their fingertips, and if they can’t access it (or we can’t provide it to them) whenever they want and wherever they are, we’ll be the ones losing relevance. I would add that with the growth of mobile advertising (especially mobile search) smartphones are bringing back call conversions as a key metric in measuring the success of marketing campaigns and driving sales.

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