Getting personalization wrong drives away customers, according to a new report. 

Nearly half of all U.S. consumers said they were targeted with irrelevant marketing in the past six months, according to  the report, The Emotional Shipping Experience, from Parcellabs (Parcellabs primarily offers services designed to enhance the post-purchase experience). Of those, 88% took action to distance themselves from the brand. More than 40% immediately unsubscribed to all of the brand’s marketing content, while 24% blocked all content from the brand on social media and 22% decided not to purchase from the brand again.


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Being retargeted with content about the item they just purchased was the top offender, cited by 43% of respondents. Tied for second place at 28%: Content for age inappropriate products and for products designed for a gender they don’t identify with, without having ever made past purchases for that gender. 

There are many things beyond a company’s control that can weaken customer trust. So it’s imperative the things under your control are done right.

“Personalized connections matter,” said Karen Neves, SVP of global demand generation at Tealium, at The MarTech Conference last month. “You want people to feel like there’s a connection with your brand and I felt that with my experience, up to the point where they were sending me ads and promotions for a product already purchased. … Customers are giving you data, and when they’re willingly giving you [that], you want to be helpful, not creepy.”

Why we care. A lot of time, money and talent are being spent on personalization. The brands doing it well are not only reaping the rewards. They are also making it easy for consumers to know when it is done badly.

Read next: How marketers can take steps toward greater personalization

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