Consumers differ to marketers in attitudes to social media

Link to: Consumers differ to marketers in attitudes to social media

Marketers are disconnected from the attitudes of the consumers they are tasked with reaching, claims new survey data, with almost 60% of consumers having ceased engagement with multiple brands because of poorly targeted communications.

The data, from information services firm Experian, is the result of a survey of 1000 consumers and 330 Australian marketing professionals from the retail, financial services, government, technology, digital and travel industries.

Giveaways and incentives topped the list of consumers’ most preferred way to engage with brands, with 70% placing this method in their top three preferred ways to receive information from brands.

Marketers and consumers were in agreement regarding brand websites, with 91% and 85%, respectively, naming them the most important source of information on products and brands.

However, a disconnect was found in attitudes to print and social media. Consumers value print media (70%) and direct mail (60%) more highly than social media, but marketers apparently see print media as one of the least important sources of information, with only 28% naming it an important channel for communicating.

The survey also looked into consumer trust of marketing channels, and found consumers are east trustful of newer channels such as social media and SMS for communicating with brands. Almost 30% of consumers put social media in their bottom three trusted channels, while only 4% said it was the channel they trusted most.

Matt Glasner, general manager of Experian Marketing Solutions believes this can be attributed to the relative infancy of social media’s use in marketing, as well as the fact that while 89% of Australian marketers now use a customer segmentation strategy in general, this strategy may not be applied to newer communication channels such as social media.

But Glasner points out that this is comparable to where email and EDM marketing was at five years ago: “The challenges uncovered by the research are similar to the barriers we saw five or so years ago when customers lacked trust in emails and EDMs. Yet, for many brands, these are now common place communication channels which are highly valued by customers.”

Over the next year, however, most marketers are planning to increase investment in social media advertising and developing the channel.

“Marketers are working hard to ensure their messages are heard. However, our research highlights that there is still a huge opportunity for marketers to further understand how and when consumers want to engage across all channels, including social media,” says Glasner.

Glasner believes opportunity lies in bringing the level of consumer segmentation seen in traditional channels to social media campaigns, and warns that the era of multichannel marketing brings the challenge of information overload to the fore, and that marketers must be more selective than ever in their choices of communication.