Customer trust and loyalty is integral to the overall success of any brand. So, when errors or scandals make headlines, it’s obvious that it would affect a company’s bottom line. But beyond the obvious consequences, bad publicity can cause damage to the basic marketing systems in place at any company, including email marketing. This often-overlooked result is detailed in a recent article by PerformanceIN, which explains how bad press can spoil a brand’s most reliable marketing tool and how teams can bounce back.
Thankfully, email marketing is one of the more measurable marketing tools, so it’s very simple to spot the correlation between bad press and bad results. After a news story breaks and gains local, regional, or even national coverage, common email engagement actions like opens, clicks, forwards, and unsubscribe rates typically suffer. The article points to ride-sharing company Uber, which saw a significant decline in email engagement following its globally publicized data breach in 2016. In another case study, charity Oxfam saw increased spam complaints following the disclosure of a damning business scandal.
PR catastrophes cause financial damage to a brand, on both a macro and micro level. As stock markets dip very visibly, the lesser seen ROI of marketing emails does too. When brand reputation negatively impacts deliverability and spam complaints, campaign revenue is lost, hurting the overall bottom line.
But as history shows, companies routinely bounce back from PR blunders. Beyond a necessary public apology (and reparation, if applicable), brands must work to prove they are honest and transparent, especially when they hold sensitive data like user details or proprietary information. The article reads, “to repair relationships with customers following bad publicity, it’s important marketers are clear and relevant in terms of messaging. Email senders should remember trust is earned, not given.” Companies should not expect things to turn around immediately, or mistakes to be forgotten. However, long-term growth is achievable if a brand is candid about their faults and clear about how they will remedy them for the future.
For more information on the impact of negative publicity on email marketing campaigns, read the full article here.