Timing key for consumers not buying via DM: study

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NEW YORK - "Not the right time" is the main reason cited for consumers not buying products or services through direct marketing, according to a report by the Direct Marketing Association and presented at DM Days here yesterday.

According to the DMA's "DM Consumer Response Study," a national survey of multichannel direct marketing sent to 1,000 U.S. consumers that was conducted between October 2006 and January 2007, 24.4 percent of respondents cited "not the right time" as the main reason for not buying during the two-day diary period of the study.

"This is very important for direct marketing to understand," said Peter A. Johnson, vice president of research and market intelligence at the DMA. "Timing is the next frontier of relevance."

Other reasons for not buying include "not relevant to me" (23.6 percent); "already have enough/already donated" (13.0 percent); "wanted information only" (6.2 percent); and "too expensive" (5.7 percent).

On the other hand, the main reasons for buying included "good price" (24.7 percent); "I am a regular customer or supporter of the charity" (16.3 percent); "unique item or service" (11.1 percent); "liked special offer" (10 .4 percent); and liked the convenience/ease of ordering (8.6 percent).

Other findings included that 79.6 percent of the sample of consumers indicated having made at least one purchase in response to direct marketing communications in the prior 12 months in any channel.

One-third of consumers (33.8 percent) recorded making a direct marketing purchase during their assigned 48-hour diary period, with an average expenditure per purchaser of $253.97.

In total, consumers recorded receiving or noticing 8,850 direct marketing promotions across all channels during their two-day survey period. These promotions then resulted in about 703 total purchases.

While Mr. Johnson said the full significance of these findings are still being analyzed, he did say "the findings suggest an overall positive degree of convergence between direct marketers and consumers while revealing significant variations in consumer responsiveness by channel and product category that marketers should be conscious of."

In particular, he said, "while marketers increasingly are moving to multichannel strategies and product offerings, this report may serve as a … reminder that for significant groups of consumers at least, there remain pronounced patterns of channel preference - even, in some cases, patterns of pronounced channel 'attachment' that may make such consumers 'deaf' to marketing by other means."

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