Increasing numbers of consumers are turning to friends and family as their primary source of trusted information on buying financial products, new research published by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has revealed.
Two in five of the consumers surveyed for the DMA’s biannual Financial Services Tracking Study said the personal recommendations of relatives and friends influence their purchasing decisions.
Price comparison websites have now been edged into second place for the first time since the launch of the study in December 2008, with 38 per cent of consumers saying they refer to them – down five per cent since the study was last conducted in February of this year.
Direct mail and marketing emails were once again cited as the least influential sources of information, polling just 15 per cent and eight per cent of the consumer vote respectively. The fourth DMA Financial Services
Tracking Study was conducted by fast.MAP in June 2010 among a panel of 1,067 consumers whose demographics reflect those of the UK’s.
The research recorded consumers’ changing attitudes to banks, insurance companies and investment businesses and the services they provide.
Commenting on the findings of the research, Bill Gilbert, acting chair of the DMA Financial Services Council, said: “Trust is a key factor in determining which financial services brands consumers choose to do business with, so that’s why family and friends are often the most influential source of information.
"Marketing is challenged in terms of the direct influence it has, but as the study shows, marketers still have an important role to play. Having a compelling web strategy, regular TV advertising and clear marketing literature are all important elements in the decision-making process.”
The fourth Financial Services Tracker study can be downloaded from: www.dma.org.uk/research
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