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‘Spray and pray’ approach prevalent in digital marketing as 70% of Asians complain emails they receive from brands are irrelevant

Only one in 10 people in a study of six Asian markets said they do not want to receive any messages from brands in digital channels such as email, SMS and chat apps, but an analysis of how marketers are communicating with their audiences reveals that a “spray and pray” approach is still prevalent.

Fully 70 per cent of 1,200 people surveyed by data marketing firm Experian in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and China said they find the emails they receive from brands to be irrelevant, the worst case being in Thailand.

Question: Have you received content that was not relevant to you from the companies/business that you follow and/or subscribe to?

Have you received content that was not relevant to you from the companies/business that you follow and/or subscribe to? Source: Experian

“Many businesses are not collecting the relevant data they need, so they cannot send out relevant content,” observed Jermyn Toh, strategic marketing director, Southeast Asia, Experian.

A crude approach to email marketing, what Patrick Sim, GM of Experian’s marketing services division describes as the “spray and pray” method, is the main reason why people unsubscribe from email lists, with a glut of emails and irrelevant content being the biggest two reasons, the study conducted in Q3 2015 found.

Question: Why do you unsubscribe from email lists?

Why do you unsubscribe from email lists? Source: Experian

But email is the preferred way people in Asia want to be kept updated by brands through digital channels, the survey revealed, with 76 per cent of those asked naming email as their top choice, followed by social media (49 per cent). Social chat apps are the least favoured medium for brands to update their audience.

Question: How do you like to receive information from your favourite bands or companies?

How do you like to receive information from your favourite bands or companies? Source: Experian

In these media, promotions are what people want the most from brands, followed by news on new products and services. In the chart below, promotional offers is the top number, followed by updates about new products and events, company-related news, ‘all of the above’ and ‘I prefer not to receive any content’. People in Malaysia are the most likely to not want to receive any marketing messages from brands.

What are the top 3 types of content you are most interested to receive on mobile, digital and social platforms?

What are the top 3 types of content you are most interested to receive on mobile, digital and social platforms? Source: Experian

SMS is the least impressive digital channel in terms of user experience, with the highest proportion of people in the survey saying the content they receive via text message is repeated from another platform and/or the message is dull. Email is the best performer.

Based on the content, how is the UX for these marketing channels / platforms?

Based on the content, how is the UX for these marketing channels / platforms? Source: Experian

“The mentality among marketers seems to be, if I’ve finishing bugging you on email, I’ll try to reach you in social media in the same way. They are thinking of the consumer in silos, but the consumer sees the brand as one voice,” said Sim.

Brands’ use of email is the most problematic in terms of giving consumers conflicting information in promotions that they’ve seen in other channels.

Question: Have you received contradictory and/or conflicting promotions or content on different channels from the same company/business?

Have you received contradictory and/or conflicting promotions or content on different channels from the same company/business? Source: Experian

China is by far the worst performer in this regard, while Singapore is by some margin the best.

“The danger with a consumer receiving information for a promotion in one channel that differs to another is that they will feel cheated,” said Sean Yeo, Experian’s solutions marketing manager for Southeast Asia and Greater China.

Between 29 per cent and 44 per cent of respondents said they had received conflicting messages depending on the channel.

Singaporeans are the least likely to buy something after receiving a marketing message through digital channels including SMS, apps, social media, email of social chat apps. Chinese and Indonesians are the most likely.

Question: Have you purchased something as a result of promotional content that you received from the following channels?

Have you purchased something as a result of promotional content that you received from the following channels? Source: Experian

Hongkongers are the least likely to share content, while social media followed by social apps are the most likely ways in which content will be shared.

Question: Where do you usually share content?

Where do you usually share content? Source: Experian

To read the report in full, click here.

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