E-mail and text ads ‘can harm brands’

Text message and e-mail direct marketing can severely damage brand image, according to new research into attitudes to technology-based marketing campaigns.

Whether consumers react positively or negatively is dependent on a number of factors, the study found, most notably which brand the message is from, how it is communicated and when it arrives. Unsolicited text messages received after 5.00pm, for instance, are more than twice as likely to irritate the recipient than those sent during the working day.

Mark Quartermaine, director of marketing and services at communications and computing infrastructure giant Cable & Wireless, which commissioned the study, says: “This research sends out a clear warning for organisations to consider how and when to promote their products or services.”

The study also found that consumers are far more receptive to online marketing from well-known online brands. Messages from Amazon.com and Lastminute.com were found to be far more successful in communicating via e-mail than rival high street brands, while text messages from online brands were 13 per cent better received than those from high street brands.

Research company Teleconomy polled 2,000 UK consumers by phone, asking them their opinions on a range of marketing communications carried out by the retail, travel and financial services sectors.

Significantly, consumers were far less satisfied with outbound marketing messages sent by e-mail than they were with letters or phone calls. In general, 21 per cent were “profoundly dissatisfied” with this area, compared to the 11 per cent who complained most strongly about after-sales service.

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