NEW YORK: Marketers continue to send irrelevant emails to customers and to focus on driving traffic to online properties despite most people doing their shopping in-store, new research shows.

A survey of “hundreds” of B2C digital marketers, spanning a number of industries, by four companies – SmarterHQ, Cheetah Digital, Liveclicker, and MailCharts – for the report Marketers are on a mission, found that 54% of respondents ranked email as the top ROI-driving channel, mostly because it remains the cheapest to implement and consistently produces the highest engagement.

Brands are still sending mostly mass communications via this channel, although respondents planned on sending 30% more behavioral emails this year.

But even if they are starting to address the issues of personalization and relevance, there remains much work to do: the study noted that seven in ten millennials are frustrated with receiving irrelevant emails.

Further, millennials typically only want between one and three marketing emails a month, but brands are sending between eight and ten – and the report said they planned on sending even more in the future.

“While ‘personalization’ has been a buzzword with marketers for years, it’s clear that brands have yet to master tailored messaging, as consumers are growing increasingly frustrated by generic communications that don’t align to their specific tastes, interests, or behaviors,” said Michael Osborne, CEO of SmarterHQ.

“In a world where brands like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Walmart execute everything customer-related so well, marketers should strive to continuously deliver better individual experiences … ‘behavioral marketing’ should become the de facto standard to build brand loyalty and to help delight consumers.”

The Travel & Hospitality sector had the highest shift toward tailored messaging, with 63% of its communications catered to individual customers versus mass marketing. Retail followed some way behind, with 38% of its marketing mix focused directly on individual shoppers.

The report also noted that all industries were prioritizing their marketing spend to drive traffic to online first, mobile second, and physical locations last, even though over half of all consumers are still doing their shopping in-store.

Sourced from SmarterHQ; additional content by WARC staff