By Maria Valdez Haubrich
Social media is growing by leaps and bounds, but email is still the best way to reach out to the most customers and gain their loyalty, reports a new study by ExactTarget. Called Marketers from Mars, the study found significant gaps between how marketers think customers want to be marketed to, and how customers actually want to interact with brands.
The clear winner? Email, which was named as the most valuable marketing tool for building loyalty by both customers and marketers. Ninety-three percent of consumers subscribe to at least one brand’s email, while about half (49 percent) have made a purchase as a direct result of email messages. One-third of consumers want marketers to invest more in email marketing.
However, while marketers were highly focused on mobile marketing, customers aren’t quite there yet. About one-fourth of marketers thought mobile apps were an effective marketing tool, but just 7 percent of consumers thought so. Instead, consumers were more likely to want brands to invest more in marketing on their traditional websites.
Consumers were more likely than marketers to want to interact with brands on Facebook. More than half (58 percent) of consumers have “Liked” a brand on Facebook, up 20 percent from the prior survey in 2010. About one-third of consumers with a smartphone and one-fourth of consumers who do not own a smartphone say they prefer to interact with brands on Facebook, making it the second most common place consumers go to connect with businesses online.
While just 21 percent of consumers have made a purchase as a direct result of a Facebook message, 22 percent of consumers say they want marketers to invest in creating a better Facebook experience. This suggests that there is great potential for Facebook to grow as a sales and marketing channel.
While marketers are highly engaged with Twitter, consumers are far less so. Some 61 percent of marketers follow at least once brand on Twitter, but only 12 percent of consumers do. That was an increase of just 7 percent from the prior survey in 2010.
What’s the takeaway? If you’re involved in small business marketing, you’re on the cutting edge of new trends and technologies—so don’t make the mistake of assuming your habits mirror those of the average consumer. Always do your research to understand exactly what your target customers are doing and how they want you to market to them—it may not be how you’d like to be marketed to yourself.
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