Consumers in the U.S. prefer email marketing to direct mail, social media and telemarketing, according to a new survey by smartFOCUS.
When asked to rank their preferred ways of receiving marketing messages, the majority of respondents (62%) said email was their preferred channel of communication, followed by direct mail (23%), and social media (13%). The least popular way to be contacted was telemarketing, with 80 percent putting it at the bottom of their lists.
The survey also found that email communications frequently lead to purchases, with three-quarters (75%) of respondents reporting that they had bought products or services as a direct result of receiving an email.
The most common items purchased as a result of direct email marketing were clothing (82%), followed by purchases from restaurants and coffee shops by almost half (49%) of respondents. Other popular items bought include grocery items (40%) and personal electronics (38%).
When it comes to social media, 40 percent of respondents said they receive communication from vendors on the social networking sites they use, such as Facebook and Twitter. Nearly one in five people (17%) have opted in or requested that companies actively contact them via social media sites.
"This survey reflects what we are seeing in the marketplace: e-mail is popular. It’s non-intrusive, can be highly tailored and is a compelling and actionable marketing communication," said Curt Bloom, President of smartFOCUS International.
"Although some of the indications of the uptake and interest in social media may seem low, this is a new communication channel that businesses are tackling. In our survey, quite predictably, the age ranges that said they preferred contact via social media platforms were the 18 to 25 year-olds. With platforms such as Facebook reaching 300 million active users, we continue to see that businesses and retailers who ignore the potential of social media do so at their own peril."