Mass marketing with the “Deletist Consumer”

by Alex Derry

News, PR

A record number of Canadians are purging brand communications from their inboxes and social media accounts. Their message to marketers? Don’t be afraid to get personal.

According to a new Aimia Institute survey, 56 per cent of consumers say they avoid certain brands altogether because their emails “annoy them.” That’s in addition to the 71 per cent who have unfollowed or unliked brands on social channels, and the 73 per cent who have closed accounts and subscriptions.

Consumer resistance has reached a tipping point, says Martin Hayward, Aimia’s VP of Global Digital Strategy. “We are seeing the rise of ‘deletist’ behaviour as consumers harden their attitudes towards brands and develop a more aggressive set of responses.”

How many of us went on a gleeful “unsubscribe” purge when Canada’s anti-spam legislation was passed last year? And one only needs to look at recent fines imposed by the CRTC on companies like Avis and Plenty of Fish to see that digital mass marketing tactics not only produce little in terms of ROI, but can also end up costing a lot more than the initial parts and labour.

While such behaviour may seem self-explanatory, the same survey shows 55 per cent of Canadians share their personal details to receive offers they see as relevant and cater to their consumer preferences, while 74 per cent are “generally happy” for companies to email them marketing offers.

The difference between successful engagement and being on the wrong end of the delete button is giving consumers a voice – by producing content they can identify with and ultimately want to share. And that requires a level of engagement, listening, even co-authorship with customers that defies most mass marketing approaches out there today.

“Long-term relationships with customers are built through a dialogue between brand and customer, where personal data is used for and with customers for mutual benefit,” says Hayward. “Showing that you are listening to your customers and leveraging customer data to produce tailored, personalized communications on the right channels is a powerful tool to build deeper and more loyal relationships.”

If you’ve made it this far without hitting “delete,” we can only hope this will be the start of a beautiful relationship.