Honeycomb Connect

Marketers Must Change How They Appeal to Consumers, If They Want To Capitalize on New Media
April 18, 2005
New York,More than half (55 percent) 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, according to the 2005 Yankelovich Marketing Receptivity Survey. The study demonstrates that marketers mistakenly believe that the advent of new media will reengage resistant consumers – but consumers continue to rebel. J. Walker Smith, President of Yankelovich Partners, presented this message and other findings from the study in a speech at the 51st Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) Annual Convention. His message was simple – change marketing practices first, then change media.

“Marketers are miss-framing the debate about how to reconnect consumers,” Smith said. “This is not about new versus traditional media. New media, like digital and wireless technologies, will never solve the ongoing decline in marketing productivity. The most resistant consumers are still waiting for better marketing practices, no matter what media is thrown at them.”

Resistance Persists

Consumers’ negative opinions about marketing and advertising continue to persist, reconfirmed in the 2005 study. Nearly 70 percent of respondents still maintain that they are interested in products that enable them to block out advertising while 56 percent say they avoid buying products that overwhelm them with marketing and advertising. But 55 percent also said they enjoy advertising, which has increased from 47 percent last year. How can marketers leverage these positive feelings about marketing?

According to the study, the top three marketing practices that consumers want are:

  • “Marketing that is short and to the point” – 43 percent
  • “Marketing that I can choose to see when it is most convenient for me” – 33 percent
  • “Marketing that is personally communicated to me by friends or experts I trust” – 32 percent

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

  • Just 7 percent prefer “marketing that ties together traditional media with new media like the internet, PDAs or video games.”
  • Just 8 percent prefer “marketing that only uses new media like the Internet, PDAs or video games.”

“Improvements in marketing practices are far more important to consumers than the greater dissemination of new media,” Smith said. “To be clear, technology experiences – not media experiences – are now shaping what consumers want, but not because consumers need to be ‘wowed’ by technology. Consumers expect marketers to use technology to improve how they appeal to them.”

The Face of Resistant Consumers

The study also unveiled the characteristics of market resisters. This group feels:

  • Less interested by technology – 81 percent believe society is too dependent on technology.
  • Less involved in the consumer marketplace – 80 percent consider shopping one of their least favorite activities.
  • Little need for marketers – 80 percent consider the sale of email lists a serious violation of privacy.
  • Value character, integrity and authenticity and tend to resist fashion and tech trends – 82 percent identify more with integrity than success.

“If marketers rely upon the latest fads and innovations to try to attract this group, they’ll just meet with more resistance,” Smith concluded. “Resisters can only be re-engaged with marketing that incorporates autonomy, balance and integrity. Forget about forcing technological advances on this group. Better marketing practices are the natural starting point.