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Irrelevant messages drive rise of "deletist" consumers

New Aimia survey finds Canadians are getting tougher on brands

Fed up with irrelevant messages, Canadians are cutting off communications with brands, according to new research from Aimia Institute.

The research arm of Aimia surveyed 10,000 people in Canada, U.S., United Kingdom and India to understand trends around consumers and digital marketing.

A majority of Canadians (72%) said they receive useless junk email every day and more than half (53%) are opting out of the “the majority” of email communications they receive from brands. Furthermore, 56% of Canadians now avoid certain companies or brands because their messaging annoyed them.

“The marketing industry is not clearly making our communication intimate, therefore personal, therefore relevant,” said John Boynton, chief marketing officer at Aimia Canada.

Irrelevant communications have given rise to what Aimia dubs the “deletist consumer.” In 2012, over a third of Canadians were deleting or only reading the title of emails or text messages from companies. Today, these consumers have “unforgiving coping mechanisms” in dealing with the growing volume of irrelevant messages from brands, for instance:

• 71% have unfollowed/unliked brands on social channels

• 73% have closed accounts and subscriptions because they don’t like the communications they received

• 60% have deleted apps because of push notifications

• 64% have changed settings to reduce or turn off push notifications

“There’s a growing and already reasonably significant size of people we’re calling the deletist consumer who use these coping mechanisms,” said Boynton. “If Canadian marketers don’t change fairly quickly, this will become a very large per cent of the population.”

The good news is that Canadians have an appetite for relevant marketing messages: 74% are generally happy for companies to email them marketing offers and 55% will share personal details to receive relevant offers.

To prevent customers from disengaging, brands have to ensure they’re sending customers the right message at the right time and in the right channel, said Boynton.

“The philosophy marketers should have is don’t apply any bad habits from the mass world into the digital world,” he said. “Start to think about how business started, the local corner store guy who knew his customers and could make recommendations based on this relationship with that customer.”

This article first appeared in Marketing Magazine

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