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Consumers might hate marketing

April 22, 2005

Every marketer knows that reaching consumers today is a difficult job. Yankelovich has just released a study that’s supposed to show just how tough it is. However, the findings are far from conclusive and somewhat contradictory and confusing.

In a way it highlights some of the inherent problems with a survey based approach.

Some highlights from the study:

“More than half (55%) of all consumers would be willing to pay a little extra to get only the kinds of marketing they prefer, but marketers aren’t listening?

How as a consumer could you possibly define the “kinds of marketing that you prefer”?

“But 55% also said they enjoy advertising, which has increased from 47% last year. How can marketers leverage these positive feelings about marketing?

Despite saying that marketers need to get their act together and start connecting with consumers, they release a finding that contradicts the overall trend. People are starting to like advertising a lot more!

“The least important marketing practices listed by consumers involve new media:

Just 7% prefer “marketing that ties together traditional media with new media like the internet, PDAs or video games.”

Just 8% prefer “marketing that only uses new media like the Internet, PDAs or video games.”

Finally, those of us who working in the communication side of the business know how hard it is for consumers to understand or recall exactly where the message came from. They see messages holistically, not broken down in to discrete pieces. So to ask consumers if they prefer integrated campaigns or campaigns that only use new media, just simply doesn’t make sense.

Obviously, these are tough times for all of us in the marketing and communication business, but it would be nice to see a study that gets close to the truth of how the consumer really views the marketing experience. A study that was longer term, more ethnographic and looked at marketing from the consumer side, rather than the marketers side, might just be a better way to go.

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