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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 Dec, 2009 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response

Study: Irrelevant E-mail and Mail Leads to Customer Defection
By Jacqueline Renfrow ( and Thomas Haire (

BOULDER, Colo. — According to a new study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and InfoPrint Solutions Company, consumers are taking control of in-bound communications by unsubscribing to irrelevant E-mail and defecting from brands that continue to send unwanted and non-personalized content, including mass mailings.

Of those surveyed, 64 percent say promotional offers dominate both the E-mail and traditional mail they receive, and 41 percent view these pieces as a must read. Of the 91 percent of consumers who opt out of E-mails, 46 percent are driven to brand defection because the messages are just not relevant. Up to 41 percent even said they would consider ending brand relationship due to irrelevant promotions and an additional 22 percent say they would definitely defect from the brand.

“The key finding for us — in a time where there’s so much focus on online marketing and talk about print being ‘dead’ — is that relevant content and communications engage the consumer regardless of the channel,” says Sandra Zoratti, vice president of global solutions marketing for InfoPrint, in an exclusive interview with Response. “It’s the message, not the medium. Marketers who continue to ignore that consumers want relevant marketing content no matter the medium will continue to fall behind.”

Liz Miller, vice president of programs and operations for the CMO Council agrees. “The two key words for marketers today are: customer experience,” she tells Response. “This study shows that customers are demanding a personalized, relevant experience within the boundaries and confines of a unified brand experience. It’s not about where they get that experience — they simply want relevance in their marketing relationship with companies.”

Also in the report — “Getting a View on What’s Delivered to You” — key results show that 73 percent of consumers have received promotions for products they already have purchased; 51 percent of consumers prefer to receive product or service promotions via traditional mail; and 43 percent prefer E-mail. Finally, 30 percent of consumers are inspired to do business with a company after receiving personalized communication.

“Irrelevant, impersonal communication, be it E-mail or traditional mail, is a waste as it does not engage a receptive recipient,” Miller says. “It is no surprise the consumers are opting out of irrelevant E-mails. However, what is a grave sign for marketers to heed is that customers will disconnect and stop doing business with brands who continue to send messages that demonstrate a lack of intimacy, customer insight and individual understanding.”

Zoratti says the information is crucial for all marketers utilizing a direct response format — from her area of expertise (print) to DRTV. “Think about DRTV and how it appears to be morphing into an addressable TV advertising universe,” she says. “It’s the same idea — addressable advertising will increase relevance. And study after study shows that relevance increases response rate.”

This is the second of three annual studies that InfoPrint and the CMO Council have teamed on, and Miller says the results have been even better than expected. “We definitely have a synergy in our thinking,” Miller says of the InfoPrint team. “These studies are meant to make lives easier for senior marketing leaders whose job — increasingly — is to get their message directly in the hands of the consumer who is going to buy their product, not just consider it.”

Nielsen Shifts Local Metrics
By Jacqueline Renfrow (

NEW YORK — Nielsen has decided to change the metric upon which advertising deals for local television ads are measured. In an effort to improve ratings for local broadcasts — which are often watched on digital video recorders minutes or days later — Nielsen wants to implement a “live-plus-same-day” measurement, which would account for viewers who watch either live or within 24 hours of air time.

While national television has not suffered the same fate because it uses C3 rating, which measures the portion of ads viewers do not skip past, local networks are judged on program ratings.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies wrote a letter to Nielsen, disagreeing with the decision and asking the measurement company to get out of the way of the negotiating process between media buyers and sellers.

But media buyers working in direct response marketing are not as concerned and think that the new system might be beneficial. “This decision won’t affect the infomercial at all,” says Dick Wechsler, president and CEO of Lockard & Wechsler. “It will have a minor impact on short form. The reality is that this will allow stations to claim more viewers. So, this will help them satisfy their GRP guarantees and could open up some more inventory for DR.”

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