"Voice of the Consumer" Somewhat Unheeded

According to an online MarketingSherpa consumer survey, in combination with a marketer survey to compare what consumers say they want and what marketers actually do, email emerges as the most preferred way for consumers to receive updates and promotions.

Summing up the numbers of consumers who prefer email at a frequency chosen by themselves, and email at a frequency set by brand, email emerges as the most preferred way to receive updates and promotions (60%).

Allowing participants to "Select all that apply," allowed them to pick more than one option. The total number (60%) reflects unique responses. Notably, says the report, subscribing to receive emails at a frequency consumers choose is twice as popular (49%) as subscribing to receive email at a company's pre-determined frequency (24%).

Email is perhaps unexpectedly followed by snail mail (49%), leaving visiting the company's website in third place (38%), says the report.

US Consumer Preferred Ways to Receive Regular updates and Promotions

Preferred Receipt

% of Respondents

Receive in the mail


Subscribe to receive email at frequency I choose


Visit website when want updates and promotions


Receive at physical store


Subscribe to brand email at predetermined frequencies


Follow on social media


Receive via text messages


Download mobile app


Attend local events


Prefer not to receive any


Source: MarketingSherpa, February 2016


After asking consumers: "In which of the following ways, if any, would you prefer to receive regular updates and promotions from companies with whom you are interested in doing business…?”  and from another survey among marketers asking “ in what ways do you offer customers to engage with your brand…?” significant gaps appear between consumer preferences and marketer practices, notes the report.

Look at the top preferences of consumers, and how marketers' practices match up to them (or don't), the report shows that:

  • Consumers' strong preference to receive email at a frequency they chose (49%) was less popular among marketers (14%)
  • Another top choice of customers, receive updates in the mail (54%), was less popular among marketers (19%)
  • Customers' third most preferred method, visiting the company website (38%), while only 8% of marketers said they posted updates on websites and did not contact customers directly

In addition, some of the most popular tactics among marketers were also not that popular among consumers, finds the study:

  • Subscribing to receive emails at a frequency consumers choose is twice as popular (49%) as subscribing to receive email at a company's pre-determined frequency (24%)
  • Inviting customers to follow their brands on social media was the top choice among marketers (77%). However, only 20% of consumers favored this method
  • Sending subscribers email at a predetermined frequency was the second top choice of marketers (76%). In comparison, only 24% of consumers favored this method.
  • Attending local events was the third top choice among marketers (36%), but only 9% of consumers preferred this method

Concluding, the report summarizes the findings by noting that marketers' practices of ways they offer to customers to engage with brands are lagging behind consumers' top choices of ways to receive updates and promotions. People prefer to choose how frequently they receive email from marketers, while marketers overwhelmingly offer to subscribe consumers to email updates at a predetermined frequency.

And, finally, the report says that though people prefer receiving print updates in the mail more than marketers tend to offer, or just visit the company website to get updates and promotions without being contacted by marketers, marketers are not using this method of customer engagement as frequently as consumers prefer.

To find additional information from MarketingSherpa, please visit here.



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