Consumers Turned Off by Brand Communications

Yet nearly 90% welcome notifications from financial institutions
A woman checks a cell phone notification while on the bus

Have you ever found yourself annoyed by an email or text message sent by a retailer you’ve purchased from in the past? If so, a new study suggests you’re in good company, as too much communication may be turning some customers off.

Thanks to technology, retailers have many ways to keep in touch with their customers. Not only can they send texts or emails about sales, but they can also give customers details about new products and services they may be interested in via apps. However, Leanplum, a platform that seeks to help brands better engage with their customers, has found that many companies may not be using technology as effectively as they intend.

Leanplum surveyed 1,000 mobile phone users to get their thoughts on the use by brands of email, in-app messaging and push notifications. They learned that many consumers weren’t happy with all of the communications they receive, and that the No. 1 reason they delete apps is because brands send too many notifications or irrelevant messages.

Millennial consumers, in particular, had little patience with messaging: 78% of millennials reported deleting apps that send them unnecessary messages, compared to 67% of Generation Z and 61% of baby boomers.

In terms of how consumers prefer to receive brand communications, a 46% plurality of respondents said they preferred email over other forms of communication. The least popular method of communication was the push notification, with only 15% of respondents preferring that brands reach out to them that way.

One factor that may influence how consumers feel about these messages is when those communications are received. Among the respondents, more than half — 60% — said they do have a preference for what time of day they receive messages from brands.

However, brands can’t please everybody, as consumers have differing ideas about when the best time is for retailers to reach out. Of those who have a preference for when they receive notifications, 27% say they prefer the morning, 38% say they would rather get them in the afternoon, and 34% say they favor the evening.

There is one industry, however, where consumers seem more open to brand messages: financial institutions. More than 30% of respondents said financial companies do the best job at communicating with their customers via technology. On top of that, a solid majority of respondents (nearly 90%) said they didn’t mind financial notifications. Likewise, nearly half (49%) said they find financial alerts helpful, and 41% said they are likely to open financial emails.

Respondents also seemed relatively open to communications from social media companies, as 25% said social media firms tend to communicate with customers effectively.

Technology gives consumers many choices when it comes to the brands they support, since shoppers no longer need to rely solely on brick-and-mortar stores at the local mall. As a result, studies have shown that many consumers have less patience with brands than they may have had in the past.

That said, brand messages can sometimes be useful — for instance, some apps and online tools can provide pricing information that may help you save money. On the other hand, if you feel like you’re receiving too many notifications, check to see whether you can limit the messages you receive by changing your preferences in the app or on an email subscriber list.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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