4 in 10 Brits Prefer Nudge-Free Marketing

This Consumer Rights Day, fresh insights from Twilio have highlighted that nearly four out of 10 (39%) UK consumers would choose to avoid nudge marketing and sales strategies altogether. These strategies include countdown timers, "last chance to buy" alerts, and email follow-ups urging them to finalise incomplete purchases.

Furthermore, over two-thirds of consumers (67%) view these tactics as deceptive, believing they manufacture a sense of urgency that isn't genuine. This underscores the importance for brands to deepen their understanding of their customers and enhance their engagement methods to ensure each interaction is meaningful.

Sam Richardson, Customer Engagement Expert at Twilio, comments: “Brands need to evolve their approach to prioritise getting to know every customer on an individual basis, including their needs, interests, and preferences. Leveraging first-party data that customers willingly share can help brands better understand what customers want to see and when, without applying unnecessary pressure. This means companies are more likely to get it right the first time around, removing the need for follow-ups.”

The knock-on effects

While these strategies might prompt consumers to swiftly proceed to checkout, the subsequent pressure often harms the brand's reputation. Approximately six out of ten consumers (57%) have halted transactions because of nudge marketing, seven out of ten (70%) question the authenticity of such strategies, and 65% steer clear of brands that employ them. This indicates a need for brands to adopt a more tailored approach in presenting offers and products to their customers.

Consumers' reactions to these tactics include feeling 'frustrated' (39%), 'deceived' (22%), and even 'panicked' (13%). Nonetheless, one in ten (10%) appreciated the reminders, highlighting the necessity for brands to discern when and where these 'nudges' might be positively received.

Richardson adds: “There’s a time and a place for nudges. Things like appointment reminders, or ‘back in stock’ notifications that customers request are value-adds that provide greater convenience and transparency to brand-customer interactions.”

An opportunity to get it right

Almost a third (31%) of consumers said they are open to nudges, but only when there is genuine urgency, while 17% wanted regular reminders for products they’ve shown interest in so they don’t miss out. This finding reinforces that brands need to pay close attention to customer behaviours to engage them with the right message, at the right time.

Richardson concludes: “There’s a huge difference between sharing useful offers, promotions, and reminders, and then applying unwanted pressure. It’s important for brands to listen to what consumers are saying here.

“Having access to first-party data, in real time, can help brands to deliver highly personalised customer interactions – in their preferred format and on their preferred channel. It will also give brands the power to foresee when follow-ups and reminders are likely to strike the wrong or right chord. For example, if a customer is already in touch with a customer service complaint, promotional emails are unlikely to resonate. There’s a significant opportunity for brands to get this right and take us into a new era of respectful marketing practices.”