Rain Checks


Nearly half of Australian consumers are being spammed, over a third will walk from brands they love due to annoying emails


According to HubSpot’s research:

  • 91% of decision makers at Aussie businesses say they are currently facing challenges or have experienced challenges in the last 12 months.
  • 45% of decision-makers cite connection issues as one of the three biggest challenges to their organisation.
  • The impact of disconnection has been felt by half (51%) of surveyed business leaders in the last 12 months.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — 13 December 2023 — HubSpot, the customer platform that helps your business grow better, today announced the findings of Australia’s State of Customer Connection Report conducted by YouGov. The research examined the biggest pain points when it comes to how businesses and customers interact with one another. 

The big switch-off is coming 

With over eight in ten Australians reducing discretionary spending due to inflation, marketers must get creative if they’re to meaningfully connect with their target audience*.

This year, an overwhelming majority (89 per cent) of customers cited a negative experience with the brands they engage with, such as low-quality products and customer service, or being spammed with irrelevant marketing (44 per cent). The impact on the bottom line for business is significant, with 46 per cent of respondents saying receiving spam would weaken their relationship with a brand, and over a third (36 per cent) would unsubscribe from the business altogether. 

As the Australian Communications and Media Authority cracks down on unwanted emails, it’s not just the brand’s bottom line that’s at risk from excess spam. Kmart was recently fined $1.3 million for sending unwanted emails to customers, and earlier this year Commonwealth Bank was hit with a record $3.5 million fine for sending spam. 

Globally, 4 billion people are daily email users and 6.2 billion are smartphone users — and the numbers are expected to rise. For businesses, using channels like email and text to interact with customers will continue serving a great purpose. 

“The bottom line is that effective connection is driven by quality communications, not quantity. The data suggests that brands aren’t routinely assessing their connection data and using this insight to inform their customer touch points. And it’s causing irreparable damage as consumers disassociate with the content,” said Kat Warboys, Marketing Director of APAC, HubSpot.

Validating the power of highly personalised targeted marketing for enriched customer connection, according to HubSpot’s 2023 ROI Report; businesses using Marketing Hub, a tool that helps marketers connect more effectively with customers, experienced a 58% increase in email click-through rates after just six months. 

Low brand competency dents customer confidence

Inflation isn’t only changing the way consumers spend, but also how they prefer to interact with brands. For businesses, this means the tactics that used to work are no longer resonating. A lack of agility and tune-in from businesses is taking its toll on customer confidence, as half of Australian consumers (49 per cent) agree that some brands have low staff competency (32 per cent) and lack interest in improving their service (32 per cent).

Warboys commented, “Increasing unsubscription rates and decreased engagement metrics are important symptoms of poor customer connection, for example, social shares, email opens and conversion rates. The first step is to look at the data and what it’s telling you, while simultaneously reviewing how your brand is behaving across the business and its channels. Chances are, you’re not the only team trying to get customers’ attention — and the more communications businesses have, the more likely the audience is to switch off. The key here is alignment across the business and also with the customer, which means collaborating with customer-facing teams to understand the challenges and opportunities they’re observing from the front line.

“Rather than relying on the same strategies as previous years, in 2024 marketers should reassess by testing and learning and investing in the customer experience. Firstly, identify where your customers are happy to self-serve, and ensure you’ve enabled them to do so, and where they expect a human touch. Secondly, look at where your target audience is spending their time and meet them there — which may mean pivoting away from email marketing if your audience prefers SMS.”

The impact of unmet customer expectations 

When brands aren’t meeting consumers’ expectations — whether because of the product, customer service or the timing, quantity and messaging of content — those consumers will happily walk away. The impact of this disconnection has been felt by half (51 per cent) of surveyed business leaders in the last 12 months.

The connection challenge is being reported as a top three pain point by 45 per cent of Australian businesses. The secret to healthy customer relationships is hiding in plain sight — data. Business leaders can dig deep into their brand’s customer experience and performance analytics to determine what marketing and sales content generates the most value and make investments accordingly.

Warboys concluded, “From our research, we know that declining customer spending and loyalty is keeping business leaders up at night. The good news is that technology is here to help businesses work smarter, not harder. It’s been well documented that AI helps businesses to save time, drive effectiveness and increase productivity leading to deeper and more scalable connections with customers. 

Instead of over-saturating communication channels in an attempt to win customers’ attention, invest in audience research, get laser-focused on segmentation and up-to-date targeting and use the right channels to delight the right audiences. When backed up by personalisation and targeting, there’s no doubt that less is more.”

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