SINGAPORE: Asian consumers regard email as the best channel for receiving messages from brands, but a new report warns marketers that they must improve the content of their emails because 70% of Asians find them irrelevant.

Based on responses from 1,200 consumers in six Asian markets – Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand – data marketing firm Experian found 76% liked to receive information from brands via email.

Not only was this a much higher proportion than for social media networks (49%), SMS (39%) and social chat apps (31%), email also emerged as the best performing channel for driving purchases.

And almost two-thirds (64%) reported buying something as a result of promotional content received via email compared to social media (53%), SMS (39%) or apps (35%), Mumbrella reported.

However, with a full 70% of respondents saying they have received irrelevant email content, rising to 80% in Thailand, this issue emerged as one of the main reasons why consumers unsubscribe from email lists. Receiving too many emails also annoyed consumers.

Giving consumers conflicting information in email promotions that they have seen across other channels emerged as another problem area, particularly in China (54%) and Thailand (56%), although much less so in Singapore (29%).

Overall, 29% to 44% of respondents across the region reported that they receive conflicting messages depending on the channel used.

"The danger with a consumer receiving information for a promotion in one channel that differs to another is that they will feel cheated," warned Sean Yeo, Experian's solutions marketing manager for Southeast Asia and Greater China.

On a more positive note, only 10% of respondents said they did not want to receive any promotional content at all while more than half (59%) were open to content based on their purchase history or recently viewed history (55%).

Patrick Sim, general manager of Experian Marketing Services for South East Asia, told Campaign Asia that the key lesson for marketers is that they should ensure their communications were relevant and coherent across channels.

"Businesses and marketers need to relook at their marketing strategies to ensure sufficient engagement occurs across key channels without sacrificing consistency and cohesion in their messages," he said.

Data sourced from Mumbrella, Campaign Asia; additional content by Warc staff