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cmocouncilbazaarvoice-factors-influencing-consumer-purchases-oct2016Some 35% of North American consumers say that ads from brands influence them to make purchases, according to a CMO Council study [download page] sponsored by Bazaarvoice. Once again, word-of-mouth outranks advertising as a purchase influencer, though, in keeping with MarketingCharts’ own research into purchase influencers.

Indeed, MarketingCharts’ study indicates that word-of-mouth outranks all paid media in stated purchase influence. In contrast to the CMO Council survey, however, MarketingCharts research indicates that TV advertising and social media ads are two of the most influential advertising media. The CMO Council report instead suggests that ads on TV and on social networks are the least effective advertising channels, with product placements in TV shows and movies and email much more accepted. (The MarketingCharts study found less purchase influence from product placements, but agrees with respect to email’s impact.)

The top purchase influencer of all, however, is coupons and discounts: more than 7 in 10 respondents to the CMO Council survey indicated that such promotions influence them to make purchases. (It should be noted that consumers need to be made aware of coupons and discounts, often through advertising. So advertising’s impact may be a lot higher than the 35% of consumers who claimed it influences their purchases.)

In a nod to targeting and personalization, a sizable share (32%) of respondents also said that retargeting (following up on products browsed online or left in cart) influences them to make purchases, and more than 1 in 5 said the same about brand recommendations of similar or complementary products.

With respect to email, which ranked at the bottom of the list of least effective advertising channels (in other words, the most effective), this is the latest in a string of studies (such as this one) showing that it’s the brand communication channel of choice. An impressive 88% of respondents chose email as their preferred way of hearing from brands, far ahead of other options including text messaging (33%) and mobile app messaging (12%).

A recent study noted that over-communication is the most annoying aspect of marketing emails, which makes the CMO Council analysis of desired frequency even more interesting. Whereas two-thirds of consumers say they’d like to hear from brands anytime there is something interesting (33%) or only when there is something relevant or useful to them (34%), far fewer (46% combined) actually hear from brands they like or do business with on those terms.

There’s a tough middle ground to find: while 3% want to never hear from brands via email, 11% say they actually never do hear from the brands they do business with. On the other end of the spectrum, while barely any (1%) want to hear from brands way too much, about 1 in 12 (8%) say that’s the case in reality.

To learn more about consumers, respondents recommend that brands look first to feedback forms and customers satisfaction surveys (27%), followed by products they purchase from brands or retailers (20%), reviews and social media content they post (17%) and emails they send through the company website (14%).

About the Data: The CMO Council study results are based on a survey of 2,100 North American consumers.

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