“Ineffective” brand marketing alienating Australian consumers, research finds

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th December 2011

Research released in a report today by global information services company, Experian, has found that almost six out of ten Australian consumers (59 per cent) have stopped buying four or more brands as a result of what the report describes as “ineffective marketing”.

Experian’s report, titled ‘The Future of Multichannel Marketing: Marketer and Consumer Perspectives’, examines the opportunities available to marketers to minimise the impact of poorly targeted communications.

In the food sector, the report is significant given the ongoing growth in competition from supermarket home brands.

Experian Marketing Services commissioned independent research with 330 Australian marketing professionals across the retail, financial services, government, technology, digital and travel industries; and 1,000 consumers across all demographics to develop an industry whitepaper on the current state of play in consumer marketing.

The Experian figures show that, as a result of poorly-targeted communications, eight per cent of consumers have stopped engaging with 20 or more brands.

However, marketers are also making strides to change traditional marketing practices. According to Experian, a key challenge identified by half (50 per cent) of Australian marketers lies in cutting through the ‘white-noise’ to get messages through to the consumer.

The evolution of social media

Experian’s findings show that consumers are least trusting of newer marketing channels such as social media, SMS and LinkedIn for direct communication with brands. Almost three in 10 (29 per cent) consumers ranked social media as among the three marketing channels they trusted least when receiving information about a brand.  Just four per cent said it was the channel they trusted most.

Experian Marketing Services General Manager, Matt Glasner said that social media is a new market within Australia and there is much that all organisations are still learning about the effective use of social media.

He said, “The challenges uncovered by the research are similar to the barriers we saw five or so years ago when customers lacked trust in emails and electronic direct marketing.  Yet, for many brands, these are now common place communication channels which are highly valued by customers.”

Consumer attitudes towards marketing channels

Experian found that 70 per cent of consumers agreed that giveaways or incentives was one of their top three favoured ways for brand engagement, closely followed by direct mail from the brand (60 per cent).

Communication via email was named by 46 per cent of consumers as one of their top three ways for brands to engage with them, followed by online and offline advertising as the third most preferred way for brand communication, named by 42 per cent of consumers.

Interestingly, both marketers (91 per cent) and consumers (85 per cent) agree that a company website is the most important source to find out information about a brand or product. Yet when it comes to social media and print there are differences. Consumers value print media (70 per cent) and direct mail from a brand (60 per cent) more highly than social media. This is in contrast to marketers who see print media as one of the least important sources of information (28 per cent).

Investment in the future

Over the next 12 months, 58 per cent of marketers plan to increase their investment in social media advertising and channel development. This is followed by email marketing (52 per cent), online advertising (47 per cent), apps (41 per cent) and events (41 per cent).

Despite the increased focus on digital, the more traditional channels still have an important role to play, with 36 per cent of marketers planning to increase their spend on print advertisements. Similarly in television and radio, 28 per cent plan to increase spend and 52 per cent will keep to the same budget.

Experian’s Matt Glasner said that the research highlights an opportunity for marketers to further understand how and when consumers want to engage across all channels, including social media.

Mr Glasner said, “Information overload is a challenge for the industry. As we move deeper into an era of multichannel marketing, marketers need to be more selective in their communications and deliver them in a way that is personally relevant to the audiences they are targeting.

“The big opportunity over the coming year is to apply consumer segmentation to create tailored social media campaigns. This is an important conversation for marketers to get right over the next 12 months which, in turn, will generate greater cut through and start to establish the channel as a truly valued and trusted information source.”