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The Danger of Over-Messaging and the Rise of the ‘Deletist’ Consumer

In theory it’s never been a better time to be a brand or retail marketer with access to data increasing and opportunities to build customer relationships at an all-time high. But – as ever – there is a balance to be found.

In the move towards more relevant, contexturally-driven communications and a more intimate relationship with customers, there are signs that customers are more than ready to assert control (again) and that their attitudes towards poorly targeted, misjudged and overwhelming marketing messages is hardening.

A consumer survey by Aimia, the company behind the Nectar loyalty scheme, reveals that 74% of UK consumers said they received too many brand emails. Along with other factors such as irrelevant messages, this is prompting half (58%) of them to opt out of emails altogether, along with the 69% who are unfollowing brands on social channels and closing accounts and subscriptions.

Will consumers continue to feel a burden? In all likelihood,yes. Research suggests that 60% of retail marketers are planning to use beacons in 2015 and beacon numbers in US stores will rise to 3 million within just a few years.

All of which means that consumers will feel increasingly ‘over-messaged’ and the numbers of what Aimia call ‘deletist consumers’, will continue to rise.

This should sound a warning to retailers. As consumers take control of their experiences, or ‘curate’ them, retailers will need to tread carefully not to annoy consumers and turn people off the idea of personalised communications before it’s even underway.

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