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Marketing Practices that Inspire vs. Those That Irritate

Pitney Bowes surveyed 6,000 consumers across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France to clarify what customers expect and desire from interactions with businesses, and which interactions irritate them. The findings are important because a few larger marketing trends amplify the consequences of effective vs. ineffective customer communications.

Actions Seen as Negative by Consumers

• Sending weekly e-mails (89 percent negative).

• Asking customers to support a brand’s charity or ethical concerns (84 percent negative).

• Sending offers from third parties (83 percent negative).

• Encouraging interaction with other consumers via an online community (81 percent negative).

• Encouraging customers to attend branded lifestyle events (71 percent negative).

• Call center reps getting too chummy on the phone (70 percent negative).

• Inviting consumers to create their own homepage (69 percent negative).

Actions Viewed as Acceptable by Consumers

• Customer satisfaction surveys are perceived as an acceptable practice by 75 percent of those surveyed.

• Keeping in contact at a frequency that doesn’t upset the customer is key; 74 percent of consumers welcome a monthly offer sent to them via postal mail.

• A certain level of personalization and familiarity is welcomed; 59 percent of consumers surveyed say they appreciate online personalization on Websites, such as “Welcome, Jane.”

“This survey confirms that brands should listen to consumers before they send out their communications,” said Dan Kohn, vice president of corporate marketing, Pitney Bowes. “Every interaction must honor the interests of the customer first, only then is a relevant offer or call to action acceptable to consumers. Each conversation between a brand and a customer is an opportunity to delight or disappoint. We’re all learning how to do more of the former and less of the latter.”

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