A new study by ExactTarget and Bail State University reveals today that email marketing is more effective than social networking for reaching the 18-34 age group.
“. . . 18- to 34-year-olds claim they are more likely to be influenced to make purchases based on e-mail marketing messages and direct mail than marketing messages on social networks,” said Mike Bloxham, director, insight and research, Ball State University’s Center for Media Design. “It is too easy to assume that the media consumers choose for their own news, information and entertainment are, by default, the best media to use for marketing messages. This is a dangerous assumption to make in a time when consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their level of control over their media experiences.”
It’s an interesting conclusion and quite a shock I would imagine for the social networks that are making tentative attempts to monetize their traffic. What is of note however is that a number of studies in the past 12 months have revealed how word of mouth is an important aspect of the purchasing decision. Back in July for instance Online Research Company revealed that 61% of respondants consult user reviews and other consumer feedback before purchasing.
A further study by Big Research revealed that 47.0% of those who regularly search online say they frequently offer others advice about products and services they have purchased, versus 29.4% of all adults.
All of which makes for an interesting contrast. On the one hand people seemingly don’t welcome advertising in the social networking environment, but on the other hand people appear more than happy to share their experiences with other people. All of which does seem to emphasise the importance of providing an outstanding service to your customers to give them every incentive to talk to their friends about it.
Of course that may not help the social networks themselves to monetize their traffic, but it should at least provide marketers with some comfort and the encouragement not to abandon social media as a marketing tool.