Consumer communication preferences: Email still king, but here comes texting!


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ExactTarget just released its 2012 Channel Preference Survey, based on nearly 1500 respondents who completed a survey early this year. The full report is available for free download here (registration required).

Here are a few highlights that I found interesting:

  • Consumers “don’t necessarily want to be friends with brands.” Marketers need to be careful not to assume a “like” on Facebook means BFF.
  • If speed is important, consumers prefer texting, phone or IM. If not, then email or direct mail. These are also the channels more likely to be used when privacy is crucial, as opposed to Facebook and other social media.
  • Texting and social media usage are growing in communication with friends. This is true across all age groups, but skewed towards younger segments.
  • Abusing communication channels is risky. As the report concludes: “…there’s probably no clearer path to angering consumers than filling channels that they reserve for personal
    conversations—such as SMS, Facebook, and the telephone—with unwanted marketing messages.”

But the big news is that reports of the death of email have been exaggerated. As you can see from the graphic below, email is still far and away the preferred channel for permission-based promotions. For personal communications, email is still the most popular (45%) but has slipped considerably since 2008. Texting has grown rapidly in popularity, now preferred by 36% of individuals.


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