MarketingVOX: The Voice of Online Marketing

Marketers shouldn’t assume that the medium consumers use to relay information to each other is also the best means to advertise to them.

This was the conclusion made by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design and ExactTarget, after studying the influence of various advertising channels on young adults (18 to 34).

The demographic is more influenced by direct and email marketing messages than ads on social networks, the study found.

The results were surprising, considering that email users have reportedly begun using social networking sites, instant messaging (IM), text messaging, and cell phones at the expense of email. Still, 44% (versus 51% in 2007) said email inspired at least one online purchase, according to a September JupiterResearch report.

The ExactTarget study outlined six personas and measured how they interact with different media. Highlights (via the companion release):

  • Wired Users: 20% subscribed for marketing communications via SMS (more so than any other group) but want to receive texts only for urgent customer service issues, like financial alerts or travel updates.
  • Young Homemakers: Over half use social networks and SMS during the day, but direct mail and email are their preferred marketing channels.
  • Retired: 81% purchased online and 94% have been influenced by some form of direct marketing to make a purchase.
  • College Students: Very spam-savvy, they believe private communication channels (e.g., SMS, social networks) are off-limits for marketers.
  • Teens: Though they use social networking more than any other group, they are more likely to make a purchase from direct mail, followed by email, SMS, and social network sites.
  • Established Professionals: Within this group, women are more likely than men to use new digital media channels like IM, SMS, and social networking to communicate with friends and family. Both men and women, however, shop online — 92% of consumers in this group have made an online purchase.

The full whitepaper can be downloaded directly from ExactTarget.