STUDY: How Many Brands Would You Call ‘Friends?’


Is your favorite brand the kind that you might call…your best friend? How many brands would even qualify as casual acquaintances? And which ones do you come back to again and again like a well-worn pair of pants?

Yes, these are ridiculous questions–but they’re also very serious, because their answers go a long way toward determining where the average John or Jane spends his/her money. A new survey of more than 4,000 consumers worldwide by IBM-owned email marketing tech provider Silverpop addresses the very real idea that every business should personalize its service as much as possible.

As you probably know, a “best friend” brand is one that will regularly lead consumers to open and even actually read emails, therefore leading to more sales etc.

Some stats, then:

  • The average consumer would consider between four and five brands to be “friends”
  • The same consumer only bought products from three brands online during the survey’s three-month span

The point is that the virtual “relationships” people form with the brands they like play a large role in determining their spending patterns.

Here’s the graphic you need to see:

Email marketing

And why does that matter? Because, while 67 percent of consumers want to receive email updates from the brands they like best, a full 58 percent won’t open individual emails that aren’t specifically relevant to them and their interests.

A couple more relevant numbers:

  • 64 percent would be more likely to open a message from a brand they consider a “friend”
  • Once they do open it, 70 percent will be more likely to buy something if it’s well-tailored to them.

This is very basic stuff that primarily relates to email marketing software, but we know that the practice is very similar to large-scale pitching: the goal is to hit as many receptive targets as possible while ensuring that each individual message is in some way personalized (automatically, of course).

One more point: 34 percent say they will leave most emails unopened if they receive too many of them.

So, again, email marketing is much like pitching: do it regularly, individualize it with data and experience over time, but don’t overdo it.

Sounds simple enough. The details are a different story, though.