It finally happened: Spam spoils loyalty

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 21, 2003

It finally happened: Spam spoils loyalty

Despite the fact that 56% of consumers like to redeem their loyalty rewards via the internet, many consumers are now reluctant to provide an e-mail address because of the perceived danger of receiving 'spam' (unwanted 'junk' e-mail).

Fear of spam, the unwanted junk email, is stopping consumers from providing email addresses for loyalty programmes in which they wish to participate, making it extremely difficult for marketers to accommodate consumers' wishes to redeem loyalty programme awards online. It has reached a point where loyalty marketers are now offering additional rewards designed to coax consumers into providing their email addresses.

A recent Maritz Poll, which surveyed 1,205 adults in the US, found that 56% of consumers prefer to redeem their rewards via the Internet, 47% prefer to redeem rewards at the point of purchase, 30% redeem via mail and 20% prefer telephone. But, despite many preferring online redemptions, some 20% of loyalty marketing communications are actually conducted by e-mail due to the low percentage of customers willing to provide their e-mail address.

Spam's not all bad? "Spam is making communication difficult for legitimate marketers but it's created vast opportunities for them too," said Derek Vest, director of dialogue marketing for Maritz Loyalty Marketing (a business unit of Maritz Inc.) "Online loyalty communication is actually the 'anti-spam' because it is a pure consumer opt-in environment where no products are being solicited. We know that consumers who receive opt-in emails are looking for specific messages from their loyalty programmes and deleting everything else."

Loyalty marketers are now carefully designing e-mail messages to have a better chance of reaching their recipients, and running campaigns to reward points and cash-back bonuses for consumers providing their e-mail address.

"We've found that many consumers are providing their work e-mail addresses, which have sophisticated spam filters in place," added Vest. "That's why we are advising our business customers about designing e-mail messages that are clear and concise so they are not mistaken for spam and filtered out or deleted."

Footnote The Wise Marketer's observation is that there is some kind of inverse psychology taking effect when people are asked to provide their e-mail address for an opt-in service. Maritz observed that essentially 'domestic' consumers signing up with loyalty programmes tend to submit their work e-mail address.

The Wise Marketer has noticed, however, that business people, when opting into online business services (such as our weekly e-mail newsletter) tend to submit their home e-mail address instead of their office address, in order to reduce the risk of '9.00am inbox clutter'.

One can't help wondering if the next stage in opt-in e-mail's evolution is for providers to begin insisting that the correct category of e-mail address (i.e. home or work) is used when registering for domestic- or business-related services. Only time will tell.

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