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Consumers more confident in how brands handle their data post-GDPR

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Two in five consumers (41%) say they are more comfortable and confident that brands are handling their data correctly thanks to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018.

Furthermore, fewer people find themselves often questioning how a brand got their data in the first place than a year ago, according to the ‘Consumer email tracker 2019’ report released today.

The research, conducted by the DMA and supported by dotdigital, delves into consumers’ perceptions and preferences when it comes to the channel most (59%) prefer brands to get in touch through – email. In 2018, consumers believe they received less email than ever before, estimating this at around 57 per week to their personal inboxes – down from 73 in 2017 – and less than half of these (44%) are actually from brands.

In addition, consumers estimate they’re signed up to receive email messages from around nine different brands, which has also declined from 12 in 2017. The figures are a potential by-product of the new laws and consumers’ belief they have more control over the marketing emails they receive.

Rachel Aldighieri, MD at the DMA, explains: “Despite the challenges that the GDPR may have brought to marketers and their organisations, it has clearly had a positive impact on consumers. The fact that so many of the people we surveyed said the new rules have made them more confident about how brands treat their personal data should be seen as a very positive step. This year’s report highlights the power of email to be at the heart of brands’ communication with customers, being the central channel that others can then be built around. However, it’s fundamental that marketers combine convenience and relevance, building relationships based on transparency and trust.”

Phil Draper, Chief Marketing Officer at dotdigital, adds: “Creating powerful, two-way relationships with consumers should be at the core of all modern marketing strategies. It’s what consumers want, and what marketers are working to deliver. The fact that brands have reduced the number of emails they’re sending is an indication that brands are focusing more on delivering relevant and interesting content.”

In what seems like no time at all, the variety of channels available to consumers and marketers has exploded, offering all sorts of routes to market for brands, and myriad ways for customers to engage, try and buy. Despite the challenges in keeping pace with this change, what’s most important is that these are all within an organisation’s own power to resolve. By putting the customer first, organisations can focus on experience and journeys they want, aligning their digital futures to these.

Unsubscribe doesn’t have to mean unsubscribing

The most predominant reason for unsubscribing from a brand’s email programme is receiving too many messages (59%), followed by the information no longer being relevant (43%) and not recognising the brand (43%). Most people (70%) take action via the brand’s website or the button within an email, with 40% expecting to never hear from that brand (via email) again or only receive transactional emails (23%).

However, almost one in five expect to be taken to options where they can change their email preferences (9%) or to some form of survey (7%), offering marketers the opportunity to retain that customer by changing their approach or, at the very least, better understand why they’re leaving. When offered this opportunity for control, around a third (36%) say they would like to reduce the frequency of emails they receive or specify the products/services they hear about (31%) – two of the key reasons they may have clicked unsubscribe in the first place.

Marcus Gearey, Chair of the DMA Email council’s research hub and Analytics manager, Zeta Global, says: “The management of the inbox is an attempt to maximise utility and minimise disruption. The right message of the right value still wins: too many of the wrong one makes it difficult to get that consumer to change their mind that your brand belongs in their spam folder rather than their inbox.”

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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