Top Brand Marketers Missing out on Email Personalization Opportunity

June 4, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Media & Entertainment | Retail & E-Commerce | Travel & Hospitality

Some 85% of companies fail to personalize the first email message sent to new subscribers – and most don’t even send a welcome email, according to a study that analyzed the email programs of 61 leading retail, consumer goods, travel, and media & entertainment companies.

The problem is not lack of data, Return Path’s Subscriber Experiences study found. Most marketers are collecting various types of information at sign-up that could be used to personalize their emails:


  • Nearly seven of 10 companies studied collected additional information beyond a subscribers’ email at sign up.
  • Nevertheless, 75% of companies that collected additional information did not use it to personalize emails.

Moreover, many email marketers do not acknowledge a new email subscriber with a welcome message, and among those that do some wait too long:

  • 60% of the companies studied never sent a welcome message to new subscribers.
  • 33% sent it within 24 hours.
  • 7% took two days to three weeks to send a welcome email.

And among the 40% that send a welcome message, only 32% personalized the message:


The companies studied sent their first regular email an average of nine days after a subscriber joined. But 65% of those first regular email messages did not contain any special offer for the new subscriber. And 30% didn’t send any email within a month of sign up.

“Combined with a lack of welcome message, this lag in sending email has implications for sender reputation and deliverability, too,” said Return Path Director of Strategic Services Bonnie Malone Fry.

“Many people sign up for email, but quickly forget about the company if they don’t get email quickly. When marketers finally do send something the risk is high that recipients will complain because they don’t remember they opted in for the message.”

Note: More about the findings and recommendations are available via a recorded webcast; those who register to download?it are provided access to a copy of the study.

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