LONDON: Retailers are more likely to protect their return on investment from direct marketing and retain consumer engagement if they focus on relevant and highly personalised content, according to new research.

Although many other studies have reported on the importance of relevance in email and social media marketing, it appears more work still needs to be done in the UK because a survey commissioned by Engage Hub found 90% of consumers have cancelled communications from retailers in the past 12 months.

As reported by, the specialist customer engagement firm also found that nearly half (46%) of these consumers did so because they said they had received too many messages from brands.

Nearly a quarter (24%) said some retailers sent them at least one message a day, while 15% received even more on a daily basis, and some consumers also reported dissatisfaction with the content.

Again, nearly a quarter (24%) said they had unsubscribed from a retailer because the messages being sent were irrelevant to them, while 15% reported that retailers never forwarded relevant offers or updates.

Retailers also risk turning these complaints into lost sales because 11% of survey respondents – the report did not provide a sample – said they would consider taking their business elsewhere if they continued to receive irrelevant communications.

"Retailers need to change tact. Poorly targeted, 'spray and pray' style marketing campaigns generate the most spam complaints, and the majority of such communications remain unopened," said Simon Brennan, Engage Hub’s VP Sales Europe.

"This not only undermines a retailer's spend on direct marketing ROI but also it also turns customers away as they quickly become disengaged with a brand that doesn't treat them as an individual," he continued.

"Retailers, therefore, need to focus on crafting contextual, highly personalised content that draws the customer in, rather than making them hit the delete button or mark it as spam."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC Staff