Study: Consumers Suffer E-Mail Overload

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Marketers might want to reconsider calling e-mail marketing the next great thing following the release of Arthur Andersen's Internet Marketing Survey.

Fifty-four percent of surveyed users would like to see less Internet business advertising via broadcast e-mails and 42 percent would like less via personalized e-mail. Only 8 percent said they wanted more broadcast e-mails and 15 percent wanted more personalized e-mails.

E-mail also placed poorly among consumers as something that would increase the likelihood of them visiting a site. Broadcast e-mail prompted 16 percent of respondents to visit a site. Personalized e-mail faired better, as 38 percent said it may prompt them to check out a Web site. A recommendation from a friend was the most effective means of persuading a consumer to try a site, cited by 90 percent of respondents.

The results indicate that consumers are inundated with electronic messages as three in 10 users receive more than 20 marketing-related e-mail messages per week. The biggest culprits appear to be online shopping, travel and news sites. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they receive messages from online shopping sites regularly, 45 percent receive messages from travel sites regularly and 41 percent receive messages from news and information sites regularly.

Despite the negative feedback, 48 percent said that an e-mail marketing message would occasionally persuade them to visit a site. Almost 70 percent said it would occasionally lead them to purchase online.

Interestingly, 36 percent of respondents had a positive opinion of permission marketing. Fifty-six percent of respondents have given personal information to online shopping sites, followed by 40 percent at travel sites and 26 percent at news and information sites.

The most common method of learning about new online shopping sites is the banner ad, according to 46 percent of respondents. E-mail was second at 33 percent, TV/radio/print was third at 29 percent. Search engines followed closely at 28 percent.

Though consumers rated banner ads an effective way to find new shopping sites, 39 percent of respondents said they'd like to see fewer banner ads. Twenty percent said they'd like to see more.

Knowledge Systems and Research Inc. conducted the survey among 320 online users between June 9 and June 13. The sample was drawn for Arthur Andersen's Online User Panel.

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