Direct Marketing - Consumer Relevance
4 April 2005 at 1:04 pm
Direct Marketing – Consumer Relevance
New research shows Australian consumers expect relevant direct contact from organisations.
A new study into consumer attitudes to direct marketing and privacy shows that the key to successful direct customer contact is relevance, trust and control.
Some 74% of Australians are happy to receive relevant and beneficial direct contact from organisations they know and trust, and 90% are comfortable with providing a basic level of personal information for marketing purposes to companies they know.
The Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) commissioned the research, which was conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) in conjunction with the University of NSW.
The findings will be used by ADMA to help develop best practice benchmarks for the industry and provide a balanced legislative framework for businesses and consumers.
The research says that whilst relevance is critical to consumers, their relationship with an organisation also greatly affects their response.
It found that people who have an existing relationship with a company are more than twice as likely to respond positively to direct contact. A strong brand name/reputation also ranks highly, with 51% of people indicating they are happy to hear from a company if they have a good reputation.
Meanwhile, age and technological experience greatly impacts on a consumer’s acceptance of direct marketing. Young adults (18-29 yrs) understand that they have the power to interact with, and impact on, brands and businesses, and are more likely to respond to direct contact as a result.
They are also far more comfortable with SMS and email contact, and are less likely to see direct contact as a marketing approach, instead viewing it as an extension of customer service.
It found that whilst consumers are still frustrated by the amount of irrelevant and unwanted contact they receive from companies, the majority of people surveyed (70%) did not want to see Government intervention or restrictions placed on companies, instead preferring to have their own control over the level, type and method of direct contact.
When asked about providing personal information to companies, 92% of people believe it is very important that they understand why the company is requesting this information and how it will be used.
Consumers also understand that different types of organisations require different levels of personal information, with organisations such as banks, financial institutions and government departments inherently generating greater consumer trust.
Despite its negative “junk mail” tag, direct mail is still the preferred method of communication for both new and existing customers overall. 89% of people open direct mail and 48% said they took action where they knew the organisation.
In his response to the findings, ADMA CEO, Rob Edwards, says that while it is clear there is still work to be done to reduce the amount of irrelevant and unwanted direct contact from companies, there is a very high level of engagement with well targeted, relevant and beneficial approaches that respect the consumers’ need for control.
Edwards says the positive response amongst young adults indicates they understand the power and choices they have when it comes to direct marketing and careful consideration needs to be given to this when assessing the future legislative landscape.
However, he says companies must respect the consumer’s need for relevance, trust and control – and tailor their approaches accordingly!
This research also suggests that consumer behaviour supports a far more positive view of direct marketing than what we are traditionally led to believe, indicating that the term carries more negativity than the activity itself.
The research program was completed in three stages 1) Desk research 2) Qualitative focus groups of consumers and business 3) Quantitative survey completed amongst 1000 Australian households.
ADMA is Australia’s principal body for information based marketing. Formed in 1966, ADMA represents over 500 member organisations. A national Not for Profit organisation based in Sydney, ADMA has State Branches in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.