Consumer backlash over using their first names

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on April 21, 2015

Consumer backlash over using their first names

Just under 50% of consumers are not happy to be addressed on a first-name basis by brands even if they've given their first name when signing up for marketing content or newsletters, according to research from digital agency Tangent Snowball.

While personalisation and loyalty are clearly essential to the success of brands on the high street, the study concluded that these aspects of marketing are also the largest threat to brands if they over-step the mark, with just under half of respondents saying they don't want to be addressed on a first-name basis.

The research, which investigated the relationship we hold with different sectors of the high street and the future of the high street as a whole, revealed a huge difference between the sexes, including:

  • Women are less happy to be addressed on a first name basis than men (47.5% of women versus 41.1% of men).  
  • Men are more likely to be swayed by TV adverts and SMS messages. Just under help of men (48.2%) reported that TV and SMS influence their purchases, compared to only 41.1% of women.  
  • Women are more likely to be swayed by promotional emails. Some 47% of women said that promotional emails drove them to purchase, compared to only 36.8% of men.

The study also revealed some surprising results when it comes to those born in the 1990s:

  • Card-based loyalty schemes are fundamental to a personalised service in their eyes. More than half of 18-24 year-old respondents (56.14%) stated that they felt card-based loyalty programmes were vital to a personalised service. This was more than any other age group.  
  • TV adverts are more likely to sway them. Despite viewing content on more devices, more 18-24 year-olds reported that TV adverts play a part in their decision to buy something (40.35%) than any other format, including online adverts (29.82%).

"Personalisation has been one of the biggest buzzwords in the industry over the past decade, but this study shows that, in fact, personalisation is a huge risk for brands. No sector is immune; all of them need to make sure that they're not being overly familiar with consumers and are actually delivering the service, experience and loyalty programme that is expected of them," concluded Steve Grout, CEO for Tangent Snowball. "The challenge will be to know where to draw the line, which requires constant discussion with consumers, something that not many brands seem suitably set-up to do without over-stepping the mark."

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