Only 40% of personalised emails feel personal

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How often do you receive personalised emails just for them to totally miss the mark? Are you a man and received emails promoting women’s clothing or vice versa? Have you just bought a new bedside cabinet and you receive emails begging you to buy bedside cabinets?

Well it’s not just you, brands need to consider their overall approach based on country-specific, age and gender attitudes to personalised marketing, as well as the characteristics and attributes that make a message feel personal to their different audiences, or they risk alienating customers, according to survey findings released from Periscope By McKinsey.

In all markets surveyed, more than 50% of respondents reported frequently receiving personalised messages. The US and France receive the most personalised messages, with 62% and 60% of consumers, respectively, reporting they frequently receive them. Germany and the UK followed with 55% and 53%.

When it comes to attitudes towards receiving personalised messages from companies and brands, we see most markets surveyed indicate a positive attitude. Consumers in the US had the most positive feelings towards them, with 50% either really or somewhat liking to receive them, revealing high opportunity for businesses to effectively engage these consumers.

The French and here in the UK we are considerably less enthusiastic, with only 38% and 37% respectively, feeling somewhat or very favorable towards them. Consumers in Germany were even more skeptical, with only 29% having a positive feeling about personalised messaging.

Consumers are Open to Personalised Messages, but are not Getting Them

Around 40% of consumers across all markets stated that messages received only sometimes captured the characteristics that would make them personal – this is red flag for businesses – and a huge opportunity for those that can get it right. While the number of respondents who said these messages rarely or never fit these characteristics outweighed those who said they usually or often do in almost all the markets, the US proved to be the exception.

31% of American consumers say that the usually or always find messages they receive relevant, as compared to 23% who said they rarely or never do. In comparison, in France, only 19% of respondents note that they usually or always receive personalised emails that are relevant, with 38% of respondents feeling the messages they receive are rarely or never relevant. Just 18% of British and 17% of German consumers report that they usually or always receive messages that are relevant, with 33% and 36%, respectively, noting that they rarely or never receive relevant messages.

It is clear from the research that consumers in different countries need to be approached differently when it comes to personalised marketing. For example, US consumers said the top three attributes to influencing personalization are: when a business offers items that are a good fit for their personal style, relate to items they frequently purchased, and when messaging tied to a special occasion. However, German consumers feel communications are most personal when they include items that fit their style, their name and that reference a recent search they made.

France and the UK were different again. In the UK consumers ranked seeing their name, something tied to a special occasion and an offer that suits their style, as the top attributes. While French consumers selected in priority order, linked to a special occasion, an offer that matches their style and their name, as their top three personalization criteria.

It’s clear that if you target UK consumers, just getting their name right in the email makes a big difference, but different countries view personalisation differently. If you’re targeting overseas customers make sure that you know what turns them on and what will make them view your personalised emails as spam.


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