Consumers and Marketers Disconnect on Channel Behavior and Preferences

January 16, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Email | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op | Social Media

ExactTarget-Purchase-Influence-Marketing-Messages-Jan2013A new study from ExactTarget [download page] explores the ways in which marketers and online consumers (both smartphone and non-smartphone owners) differ in their channel usage and behavior, finding some significant gaps that might affect how they relate to consumers. For example, 93% of marketers surveyed have made a purchase as a direct result of an email marketing message, compared to 56% of smartphone-owning consumers and 42% of consumers without a smartphone. In fact, marketers were more likely than each consumer group to have made a purchase as a direct result of a marketing message on Facebook, Twitter, a daily deal site, and direct mail.

Some of that can be tied back to their channel usage. Compared to online consumers, marketers are 5% more likely to receive at least one permission-based email per day on average (98% vs. 93%), 48% more likely to like a brand or company on Facebook (86% vs. 58%), and more than 5 times as likely to follow at least one company or brand on Twitter (61% vs. 12%). Segmenting the consumer sample by smartphone ownership, the study finds that smartphone owners are more likely than their counterparts to engage with brands over each of these 3 channels, but still trail marketers by a significant margin. The researchers caution that almost half of consumers still don’t own a smartphone, and considering this group’s preferences should play a role in how marketers approach them.

The study also details a number of other similarities and differences between marketers and consumers, some of which are listed below.

  • Marketers are more likely than smartphone-owning consumers to most often connect with brands and companies they trust through email (45% vs. 36%), but less likely than consumers without a smartphone to do so (45% vs. 49%).
  • Again looking at the channels they use most often to connect with brands and companies, marketers (21%) are less likely than consumers with (31%) and without (26%) smartphones to turn to Facebook. They are far more likely to use Twitter (15%, 4%, and 2%, respectively), and less likely to text (0%, 7%, and 3%, respectively).
  • Marketers and consumers both prefer email as their first online “check” of the day (76% vs. 69%), both subscribe to receive coupons and discount codes in their inboxes (74% vs. 73%), and both are becoming more selective about which companies they hand their email address to (67% vs. 59%).
  • Marketers (7%) are less likely than consumers (12%) to turn to Facebook as the first place to look for getting information on ongoing deals.

About the Data: The ExactTarget was launched in September 2012 to benchmark online behaviors in consumers and marketers. A total of 1,201 consumers and 411 marketers responded to this survey. Consumer responses were weighted by age and gender according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau population estimates and Pew Internet Project’s online activity data to reflect the online US consumer population. Marketer responses were not weighted. Of the 411 marketers, 62 respondents were recruited from Twitter via industry leaders, and 349 respondents were recruited from marketing-specific email lists.


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