Industry Insights: Consumer Engagement Preferences

Knowing the most effective way to get into the hands or onto the screens of your target audience is a challenge faced by most marketing teams. And when you do finally think you’ve cracked it, forces outside of your control, such as a pandemic or future generations entering the market mean you are constantly having to review the best way to deliver your messages.

The DMA have thankfully done some of the work for you, their recent report 'Customer Engagement: How to win Trust and Loyalty' investigates the most common channels chosen to engage customers and how these are perceived.

Here we summarise the findings and outline how customers prefer to receive marketing messages, which channels they deem most relevant and which of those they trust the most.

Channel preference vs relevance.

Email is considerably ahead as the most popular channel for all age groups to receive marketing messages – with it topping the ranks as a top two preference at 73%.

There is, however, a clear generational difference. Whilst email is the channel preferred by 45% of the Gen Z group, it is far less distinct in comparison to the other groups. This may be influenced by Gen Z’s fondness for consuming content through other channels like 37% favouring social media, 25% video, and even 19% choosing phone calls. And so perhaps unsurprisingly, this group were more likely to categorise messages received via social media and video as relevant.

At the other end of the spectrum, Baby-boomers show a marked preference to email (88%) and mail (52%). This group of consumers are also less likely to find relevance with marketing messages they received through many of the channels they were presented with – although email did account for 63% of their vote, a similar level to the latter audience groups.

The report also validates Millennials as the group most likely to find marketing messages relevant across the channels mentioned in the survey – equally as relevant as other generations or more so for every one of the channels.

Is trust a contributing factor?

As well as reporting on relevance, the latest survey raises the topic of trust in the marketing messages received via the various channels presented.

Millennials reign again and appear to have the highest capacity to trust marketing messages, having considerably higher or equal levels of confidence in all the channels discussed.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, Baby-boomers appear to be less trusting across almost all channels, except messages received by mail (53%). 50% of Baby-boomers also agreed face-to-face interactions instilled the most trust – an opinion which all generations appeared to share.

Meanwhile, Gen Z places its trust in messages received by phone (44%) and video (56%), which could go some way in explaining their support of these channels.

Relevance and trust are connected.

There appears to be a clear connection between generational channel preferences and the relevance or trust customers have in the messages they receive from brands. By analysing the relative relevance and trust for each channel by generation, there is a clear relationship between the two. Meaning that as the relevance of a channel increases, as does the trust a customer has in it – and vice versa. It is not clear which factor is the driving force, but their relationship to channel preference is significant.

Building trust.

All generations agree that referrals from friends or family, customer reviews or testimonials, and independent ratings help to build trust. Yet, when it comes to brand reputation there is a striking decrease in Gen Z, 75% of whom don’t regard this as influential in increasing trust. Gen Z also show less of a need to be reassured with simple to understand information, showing only 19% in favour unlike the 39% of Baby-boomers who do believe this helps to increase trust in messages from brands.

33% of Baby-boomers also believe being addressed personally helps them to trust the brand and messaging. Meanwhile, it’s Gen Z who are driving the growth in the online influencer/vlogger and celebrity endorsement, choosing these as their way to seek out trustworthy brands.

Choosing your channels.

While email leads the way across generations, beyond this central channel there is are countless ways for brands to engage with their customers. Here at MBA we provide the insight, strategy and platforms to effectively deploy your messages, whichever channel(s) your customers prefer.

You can get in touch today by dropping us an email or giving us a call on 0208 376 4300.

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