Consumers are satisfied with e-mail: Epsilon study

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Consumers accessing e-mail accounts from home are generally satisfied with e-mail and mailbox providers, according to a new study by multichannel marketing firm Epsilon.

Epsilon and GfK Custom Research North America interviewed more than 400 e-mail users who access accounts from home and focused on consumer attitudes and experiences with e-mail, e-mail marketing, spam and inbox security. The study revealed high response to multiple channels.

"About half of the consumers in our study said that the e-mails they received from companies this year were more relevant than the e-mails they received from those companies last year," said Jared Blank, vice president of client solutions at Epsilon, Dallas. "Companies have clearly made great strides sending out messages that match the interests of their customers. Relevancy is a win-win situation - consumers receive offers that actually interest them and companies benefit from the increased sales."

The study also found that 84 percent of respondents report having clicked-through from relevant e-mail offers. Seventy-three percent of respondents report buying online as the result of receiving a relevant e-mail offer.

"We hear so much about customers wanting to protect their personal information, so I was surprised to see that consumers were willing to trade personal data for increased relevancy," Mr. Blank said. "Consumers do seem to understand that relevant messages benefit them and that one of the ways to help e-mails to become more relevant is to let companies know a bit about you."

The study also found 86 percent of respondents report having made an in-store purchase as a result of receiving a relevant e-mail offer. In addition, 51 percent of respondents report having clicked "forward to a friend" links in marketing e-mail, but 38 percent have never seen these links. Seventy-eight percent of respondents report adding trusted e-mail marketers to their address books, while 57 percent report that marketers don't ask to be added.

And spam is going down from a consumer perspective, according to Epsilon's study. More than half of the respondents said that they received less spam than they did last year. This is the third consecutive year in which most respondents reported a reduction.

Also, 78 percent of respondents reported using anti-spam software. While two-thirds of respondents equate reporting spam with unsubscribing from marketers' e-mail programs, only 30 percent use spam-complaint mechanisms.

"Even though consumers are receiving more e-mails than ever, marketing that resonates with the consumer will always cut through the clutter," Mr. Blank said.

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