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9 industries, 2 surveys, 1 article: marketer and consumer views on ad channels, by industry


9 industries, 2 surveys, 1 article: marketer and consumer views on ad channels, by industry


In this special report, we compare and contrast how Australian consumers view the way different marketing channels are used across nine industries with the corresponding views of the marketers working in each industry. Some match well. Others… well… don’t.


The data presented below comes from two sources. The views from Australian consumers was obtained through a survey of more than 9000 people, conducted by Quality Online Research, and commissioned by Australia Post, in July 2013. The data on marketers was obtained through a survey of more than 300 Australian marketers in November and December 2013 conducted Marketing.

For each industry, there’s a short introduction outlining major challenges, as well as advertising channel spend stats where available. We then look at two different scenarios for each industry, for which consumers and marketers were asked which channels they viewed as most effective.



The hotly-contested finance sector is a marketplace of deals, offers and packages and is transforming from being primarily a relationship business to a convenience one. Pressure to increase earnings is intense and marketers are charged with differentiating their brands and encouraging cautious consumers to borrow more.

The financial services sector spent approximately $564 million on advertising in the financial year to 30 June 2013. According to the Nielsen ‘Expenditure by Media’ report for that financial year, the top five advertising channels by spend for the sector were:

  1. TV     $215.8 million
  2. Newspapers     $105.4 million
  3. Online     $98.0 million
  4. Outdoor     $58.7 million
  5. Personalised direct mail     $31.5 million



When it comes to evaluating options and making purchasing decisions for a new credit card, consumers say the most useful channels are websites, personalised direct mail and TV advertising as the below figure shows.

Banking - acquisition



This figure shows that when people are considering additional services or products from a bank of which they are an existing customer, they find websites, personalised direct mail and catalogues and flyers most useful, while marketers hold a significantly different view.

Banking - cross-sell



As at June 2013, the Australian Superannuation Fund Association estimates the country’s total assets at a record $1.62 trillion. Marketers in this sector face challenges communicating changes to both consumers and businesses in contribution and reporting requirements and on the performance of their funds.


When considering a new super fund, Australian consumers name websites, personalised direct mail and TV and press advertising as the most useful channels. Marketers neglected print and websites in their answer to this question, instead naming radio as a channel they consider highly effective.

Super - acquisition



Consumers report that personalised direct mail, websites and email are the most useful for communications from their existing super fund, and answers from marketers in this field matched those findings.

Super - retention



With more than 95% of the insurance industry’s premium income derived from renewals (IBISWorld, July 2013), retention is a high-stakes game for insurance marketers. And with aggregator services tilting the power into the hands of buyers, the challenge for marketers in this industry is to make insurance look like a smart, simple investment.

According to Nielsen, the top five advertising channels by spend for the industry in FY12-13 were:

  1. TV     $253.3 million
  2. Radio     $31.8 million
  3. Online     $15.8 million
  4. Newspapers     $14.2 million
  5. Outdoor     $12.5 million



The heavy investment in TV advertising is supported by the findings that consumers view the channel as one of the most useful when considering new policies, beaten only by websites, and followed closely by personalised direct mail. What do insurance marketers say? Considering the dollars spent on it, they understandably view TV as the most useful channel, with websites at number three.

Insurance - acquisition



With so much riding on retention, customer service is paramount to the insurance market. When consumers are deciding whether to renew or switch, personalised direct mail climbs up the rankings, and marketers are on the ball.

Insurance - retention



Exploding demand for connectivity in an industry overloaded with options makes the telecommunications marketer’s job one of communicating complex information in the simplest way. According to Nielsen, the top five advertising channels by spend for the industry in FY12-13were:

  1. TV     $100.4 million
  2. Online     $44.4 million
  3. Newspapers     $42.8 million
  4. Outdoor     $25.1 million
  5. Radio     $14.1 million



When making final decisions on new telecommunications products, consumers rate websites, catalogues and flyers and TV advertising as the most useful channels through which to be communicated. In our survey, marketers in this industry missed the importance of catalogues and flyers (it appeared down the list at number six).

Telecom - acquisition



The most useful channels to consumers for cross- selling of telecommunications products and services from an existing provider saw personalised direct mail jump up into equal third place. Meanwhile, telecommunications marketers gave telemarketing some of its only love in the whole study, saying it’s the third-best channel for cross-selling.

Telecom - cross-sell



Electricity price increases caused by heavy investment in intelligent infrastructure have added to the existing switching challenge faced by some utilities marketers, who are tasked with persuading consumers of their brand’s differences, as well as environmental responsibilities. According to Nielsen, the top five advertising channels by spend as:

  1. TV $43.5 million
  2. Newspapers $35.5 million
  3. Online $30 million
  4. Personalised direct mail $12 million
  5. Radio $10 million



The three most useful channels, as nominated by consumers, when they’re signing up for new utility services are websites, personalised direct mail and catalogues and flyers. But it looks like utility marketers miss the importance of websites and flyers, instead placing telemarketing in their top three.

Utilities - acquisition



When considering their options and receiving information from their current provider, Australians find most useful the channels below, while results from the marketer survey saw out-of- home advertising make the top three list of most utility marketers.

Utilities - retention



High competition from international and online players, coupled with more cautious consumer spending, has made life hard for retail marketers. They must create brand awareness and positioning while achieving short-term goals.

Nielsen reports the top five advertising channels by spend by fashion retail brands as:

  1. Magazines $57.8 million
  2. TV $18.2 million
  3. Outdoor $10.5 million
  4. Newspapers $8.5 million
  5. Personalised direct mail $6.7 million



The most useful channels for attracting customers to fashion retail brands, according to consumers, are catalogues, websites and TV advertising. Interestingly, retail marketers nominated online advertising as being more important than catalogues.

Fashion retail - acquisition



Consumers say that personalised direct mail, email and catalogues are the best ways for fashion retailers to reach them with information about loyalty programs. Retail marketers generally agreed, but placed websites higher.

Fashion retail - loyalty



Price-conscious consumers, private label growth and battle for market share are shaping the Australian supermarket space. Marketers must communicate specials and loss-leaders to attract bargain hunters while at the same time building brand.


For attracting customers, retail marketers say that websites, TV and online advertising are the best channels, but consumers disagree. As seen in the previous section, consumers consider catalogues and flyers the most useful channel fashion retail brands can use for acquisition.

Supermarkets - acquisition



Both consumers and marketers say that email and personalised direct mail are among the top choices for communicating information about supermarket loyalty programs.

Supermarkets - loyalty



With some of the highest advertising spending in Australia, automotive marketers are faced with the challenge of influencing a complex set of considerations for a very significant purchase in consumers’ lives. According to Nielsen, the top five advertising channels by spend in this industry were:

  1. TV $434.7 million
  2. Newspapers $316.7 million
  3. Online $141.3 million
  4. Radio $77.4 million
  5. Magazines $44.5 million



Justifying the investment mix seen in the above figures, consumers say that websites, TV and press advertising are the most useful channels when they’re considering a new car purchase. Automotive marketers, however, place greater importance on the digital channels.

Automotive - acquisition



When drivers are considering upgrading their existing model, they nominate the same channels as being most useful, but auto marketers lean towards the direct methods.

Automotive - retention



The NAB Charitable Giving Index puts the average annual donation at $291 per Australian. Marketers for charities and other not-for-profit organisations must communicate in a noisy environment to consumers who are increasingly aware and demanding of transparency.


Websites, personalised direct mail and TV advertising are the three most useful channels when deciding whether to switch loyalty, according to consumers. Marketers, however, hold email in much higher regard.

NFP - switching



Marketers and consumers are on the same page here, with both nominating the same top three communication channels, albeit in a different order, for retaining customers.

NFP - retention



The results of our survey of marketers compared and contrasted to those of Australia Post’s poll of Australian consumers show that marketers in some industries are very much in touch with the channel preferences of their audience. In others, however, marketers are backing channels that their customers just don’t care for, potentially alienating consumers and unwittingly inflicting damage to brands.

How did your industry go?



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