Post navigation

Marketers vs. Consumers

Sign up for Marketer's Blog Emails


Marketer Perceptions vs. Consumer Preferences

How well do we marketers understand consumer preferences for receiving our messages?

fast.MAP (http://www.ccbfastmap.com/), an online market research agency based in the U.K., has published its 8th annual Marketing-GAP study, which it describes as “The Inside Track on Consumer Behaviour.”

consumer preferencesfast.MAP further describes this study as “…the only marketing study which tracks both consumer and marketer opinion and highlights the GAP between what consumers are doing and what marketers think they are doing.”

Hmm…meaning, we marketers may have a different view of what our customers want than our customers do? Intriguing…

The Marketing-GAP reveals at least two groups of marketers who apparently cling to their own notions of consumer preferences for communications, but are actually at odds with consumers’ own opinions. The first group is traditional direct marketers, who, despite their “big data” to pinpoint exactly what works and what doesn’t, are misreading consumers. The other group is the so-called evangelists of new media – SMS, mobile marketing, Twitter and social networks. According to the study and contrary to the evangelists, nine out of ten consumers do not want to be contacted by marketers via these vehicles.

The study draws some interesting conclusions that we marketers would do well to consider. Keep in mind that this study was conducted in the U.K. U.S. results may vary. Regardless, the main point remains valid: we must not assume how our consumers like to be contacted. Instead, we must understand and respect consumer preferences.

Some of the study’s conclusions:

  • 8 out of 10 consumers open direct mail. Their top three reasons to open it: brand, relevance and personalization.
  • Acceptance of mobile, SMS and social media is growing but still in its infancy, with 3 in 100 consumers wanting contact through these vehicles.
  • Marketers overestimate, frequently by hundreds of percent, consumers’ desire to be contacted by mobile calls and social media.
  • In 2009, a third of adults objected to receiving marketing text messages. In the most recent study, 84% objected.
  • Three quarters of consumers close website pop-ups unread.
  • 4 in 5 consumers want contact from companies with whom they have a relationship; of these, 3 in 5 prefer email, 2 in 5 prefer mail, and 7 in 100 prefer the telephone.
  • Consumers are increasingly wary of providing their personal data such as phone numbers (no real surprise there).
  • 97% of consumers redeem coupons, but it is relevance, not face value, which determines if a coupon is used or not.

The study was conducted in partnership with the Institute of Promotional Marketing (IPM)The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) and MarketReach from Royal Mail.


While this study focuses on U.K. consumer preferences, the message for marketers is clear: we need to understand our consumers. This seems so obvious as to not require its own blog post. Yet, time and again, marketers are either too resource-constrained or too unaware to collect and analyze the data to know how their consumers respond to different types of messaging in various media. Until we take this step, we are essentially marketing with one eye closed and hoping we see the big picture anyway.

This brings us to the whole topic of “Big Data,” which has become a huge buzz word of late, and will be the subject of an upcoming ZUZA Marketer’s blog post about Big Data.

Until then, here’s to the Marketing Champion in all of us. See you in the next post.



Comments are closed.