Interactive TV is the most powerful in driving a direct purchase, despite it being the least experienced of all media, according to new consumer research from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
Meanwhile mobile messaging is one of the stronger performers in prompting consumers to seek further information.
Interactive TV is joined by field marketing and email marketing to form the top three direct media in generating a purchase while television and radio ads, customer magazines and inserts lead the field in generating retail traffic.
Telephone calls, interactive TV and mobile messaging are most likely to result in respondents seeking further information.
The DMA Participation Media Report, conducted out by the Future Foundation, explores the consumer’s actual experience of direct marketing using an innovative diary approach. The research was conducted in two parts - 2000 people were questioned via face-to-face
Interviews about their attitudes towards communications and their actions as a result of receiving direct communications.
All those who were interviewed were also given a direct communications diary to compile, in which they noted down the occasions they received direct communications from companies over the course of one day and how they responded.
Unsurprisingly the report shows that growth in internet access has increased across all demographics as confidence in the medium grows and access costs decrease – including an increase in the number of people accessing internet services at work.
This may be one of the factors that lies behind findings showing that the majority of purchases made in response to email marketing were at work.
This combined with the growing number of consumers using laptops, PDAs and mobiles has created an ‘always on’ consumer.
Head of research at the DMA, Victoria Bytel, said that the blurring of work and personal space meant that marketers needed to work harder to utilise time and place to tap into the mindset of the consumer.
Communications received by consumers via email have grown by over seven per cent to 17.5% since the last research was undertaken in 2005.
Consumers recorded that emails peak mid morning and are predominantly received from the retail sector, home shopping and travel and leisure industries.
The research shows that positive responses to email marketing have also increased by 3.1%, indicating a growing acceptance and appreciation of the medium.
For the first time since the research began, the internet has overtaken mail order for purchasing goods.
This reflects the increase in the number of consumers describing themselves as ‘hectic’, with timesaving and flexibility cited as the main benefits of using direct marketing as a way of purchasing goods.
However, catalogues remain an important reference tool for consumers with many being used alongside the internet as a means of purchasing goods.
Online banner ads were included in the research for the first time. They made up 3.3% of all communications noted by consumers with the research showing that people are most likely to pass information about banner ads on or ask for information as a result of seeing them.
Again, perhaps demonstrating the blurring of work and home boundaries, positive responses rise when viewing banners ads at work however it is not known if these are for work or personal use.
In general, the research indicates that most consumers (75%) feel overwhelmed by the number of marketing communications they receive although they remain happy to pick and choose between them (70%).
Although the percentage that feel overwhelmed has increased by 10% since 2004, the willingness to pick and choose between messages has also increased by 10%.
“As the number of communications grow, consumers have become better at filtering information,” concluded Bytel.
“People are able to de-sensitise themselves from content but in doing so they also disconnect from the brand. To avoid becoming wallpaper, marketers need to work even harder to make communications stand out.”
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