Consumers Still Resist Marketing Attempts
Communicating with consumers is certainly not easy, and the advent of applications that enable consumers to dodge unwelcome marketing isn't making the marketer's plight any better. Still, new media technologies like the Internet and PDAs are gaining traction with the younger consumer sect; older consumers are more averse to these kinds of innovations. According to a report from Yankelovich Partners, however, better marketing practices, not new media technologies, are what consumers want.
The 2005 Yankelovich Marketing Receptivity Survey, based on results compiled from 600 respondents at least 16 years old in February 2005, reports that 56 percent of the participants avoid buying products that overwhelm them with marketing. Sixty-nine percent are interested in products to block, skip, or opt out of marketing, and 54 percent resist exposure to or paying attention to marketing. "We've seen manifestations of a lot of marketing resistance, and marketers have really begun to try and address this in a variety of ways," says J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich Partners. But "the message and the actions that are being undertaken don't really seem to have begun reversing these kinds of consumer attitudes."
Consequently, only 7 percent prefer marketing that links traditional media with new media like the Internet, PDAs, or video games, while just 1 percentage point higher are inclined to marketing that exclusively uses new media. The low adoption rate, Smith says, stems from consumer fear as new media has more touch points than traditional media, which he says, concerns consumers that they will be more intrusive and overwhelming. "That's our real challenge--not to get carried away with the new media and the new technologies....That's exactly what consumers don't want, and so they view new media with more skepticism than we thought they would."
What consumers do want, according to report findings, is more control. About half, 43 percent, want "marketing that is short and to the point," 33 percent want "marketing that I can choose to see when it is most convenient for me," and 32 percent want "marketing that is personally communicated to me by friends or experts I trust." Additionally, 81 percent of marketing resisters--consumers less receptive to marketing--are less interested by technology, and more attracted to practices that incorporate self-sufficiency. "The notion of being at the mercy of marketers or not being able to get control...[is] exactly the wrong kinds of things for these people. To reengage them we've got to find ways to get them back in control," he says. He also maintains that technology experiences are driving a substantial share of marketing and media expectations. "When people are saying they want to be able to customize and control media...what they're really saying is, I want to be able to control TV and other kinds of media the same way I control any other technology."
But it's not all bad news for marketers. Fifty-five percent of survey respondents enjoy advertising, actually up 8 percentage points from last year. What Smith suggests is focusing the debate on good and bad marketing practices, not on new and traditional media. "Good marketing practices are the kinds of things that will engage consumers whether you do it through the traditional forms of reaching people or through newer forms of reaching people," he says. "It's not a question of vehicle type. It's more a question of marketing practice."
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