Personalized marketing needed to target millennials: report

Almost three-quarters of Canadians surveyed said that they would disengage with brands that send out mass, impersonal communications.

Millennials who are bombarded by mass generic email marketing are the most likely group to disengage with brands sending out those messages, according to a new report released by the Aimia Institute in Montreal.

The report, based on research conducted across five countries, including the U.S., India and Canada, surveyed 2,000 people in each country about their digital consumption preferences.

In Canada, specifically, the results were equally high. Some 73% of Canadians said that they close accounts, unsubscribe, or “unfriend” companies if they receive mass communications that are not personalized, and 32% delete SMS messaging without reading the entire text. Almost 20% say they cannot handle the volume of emails they receive from brands, and 65% believe that it is too high.

Consumers identified three companies for effective, targeted communications: Bell Canada, Sobeys and Amazon. However, only 20% said that of supermarkets, 21% of banks and 13% of hotels do relevant outreach.

According to the reports’ global findings, millennials, who are defined as the “always on” generation, are 44% more likely to permanently disengage with brands if they receive a high volume of generic emails, categorizing them as a “High Volume Sensitive” group. Generation X, on the other hand, is least likely to fall into this category.

The institute’s research revealed that a majority of that group were overwhelmed by the high volume of SMS messages (60%) and push notifications (62%) received.

The research reveals a need for a shift in brand strategies, according to Martin Hayward, SVP, global digital strategy & futures at Aimia. “Marketers must work harder to listen to individual customer preferences and tailor communications appropriately. Privacy, permissions and preferences are increasingly crucial elements of future customer relationships. Get it wrong, and High Volume Sensitive consumers are ruthless in cutting brands off.”

Indeed, the research shows that 80% of the “sensitive” group is likely to block brands, 84% of that group is likely to unsubscribe completely and 86% of the group is likely to unfollow the brand on social channels.

The report does not suggest that millennials are uninterested in brand campaigns. Millennials showed as much interest as other groups to share their personal data but demand more personalized brand targeting. In Canada over 55% of consumers said they are willing to share their information with brands.

The Aimia Institute is a division of Aimia, a marketing and loyalty analytics company that uses big-data to develop consumer insights for brands to establish more effective one-to-one marketing solutions with their clients.