Consumer Response to SocNet Marketing Messages Depends on Brand Relationship

Almost half of consumers welcome social media marketing messages from brands they follow, according to [download page] a newly-released survey conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Pitney Bowes Software. But, that response evaporates when removing the like or follow relationship: just 18% of consumers welcome messages from brands they don’t follow. Similarly, while only about 1 in 5 consumers who follow a brand find its social media marketing messages annoying, that jumps to 40% among those who don’t follow the brand.

The study – “Social Media: Contrasting the Marketing and Consumer Perspectives” – surveyed 300 senior marketing decision-makers working in B2C companies across the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and the US, as well as 3,000 adult consumers from the same markets. In comparing how marketers use social media messaging, and what consumers find useful, the study uncovers significant misalignments.

For example, while 36% of consumers report being interested in messages about upcoming sales, just 9% of marketers say they create such messages. At the same time, 36% of consumers are interested in hearing about new products or services, while only about 19% of marketers have created such messages. In fact, the leading goal of social media messaging among marketers is to interact more immediately and directly with customers, but that is valued by just 15% of consumers. Instead, what consumers find most useful is messaging about discounts and money-saving vouchers.

Also true: 24% of marketers believe newsletters generate good response by consumers, while only 9% of consumers are interested in them.

Social media has not replaced more classic methods of brand interaction, yet. Just 19% of consumers report using social media to contact companies they use. Instead, 67% report preferring email, 31% calling and 30% providing feedback via the company’s website. Those preferences may shift over time, though. According to a NICE Systems survey of US, UK, and Australian consumer interactions with service providers, consumers are turning to new channels at an increasing rate. 43% say that they are using smartphone applications more than they were 2 years ago, while 40% say the same about social networks.

About The Data: The Pitney Bowes Software data is based on responses gathered in August and September 2012 by Vanson Bourne from online interviews of 300 senior marketing decision-makers working in business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations in the UK, France, Germany, Australia and US, and from 7 economic sectors (Retail, Insurance, Retail Banking, Utilities, Telecoms, FMCG and the Public Sector). At the same time, 3,000 adult consumers were surveyed in the same regions, who either use or have used social media.