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Posted by Michele McCreath - on January 21, 2013


“To tweet or not to tweet; to email or not to email; to print or not to print  – that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the marketing mind to suffer?”

Ok so maybe marketing isn’t exactly a Shakespearean tragedy but with technology emerging at rapid speeds the one question on all of our minds - "when it comes to communication channels, which one should I use to reach consumers and build brand relationships?”

Understanding consumers’ purchasing behavior and how it aligns with multiple marketing channels is a crucial component of any good marketing department.

                           They want print. They want online. They want it all.

Consumers’ Purchasing Behavior

As the economy makes a comeback, marketing advertisement seems to be back on track; according to MAGNAGLOBAL, a media tracking service provider, as spending rose 3.3 percent during the second quarter of 2011. No doubt, much of that spending has been allocated for digital communication channels, but as consumers’ inboxes become increasingly crowded, many marketers are discovering the value of multiple marketing channels.

Nearly one-third of consumers say they rely on three or more different channels (online, in-store, print catalogs, mobile devices, customer service reps) from the time they start researching products and services to when they complete their purchase; Eight out of 10 ( 78%) report using at least two or more channels to perform purchasing research.
Catalogs are a strong traffic driver to the web.
78% of consumers said they use catalogs to browse and discover new products and services.

Catalogs remain an integral part of the multichannel shopping experience.
Six out of 10 consumers surveyed say that make purchases via catalogs four times a year or more.                                                                  
Mobile commerce is playing a role in the cross-channel experience, particularly with younger consumers

  • 27% of consumers 18 and older are using their mobile devices to browse or research products and services at least periodically--this number jumps to 41% for the 18-34 year-old age group.
  • 13% of consumers are using mobile devices to make purchases at least four times a year.
  • The 18-34 age group makes the greatest use of mobile devices for commerce -- 23% say they make purchases on their mobile devices at least four times a year, 15% make purchases monthly, and 8%  say they do so weekly.

 Social media is another emerging marketing channel

  • Like mobile, the use of social media and networks is currently being adopted more frequently by the 18-34 age group.  When broken down by age group, 42% of 18-34 year olds, 23% of 35-54 year olds, and 8% of those aged 55 say they incorporate online purchasing activities into their presence on social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.
  • 22% of all consumers surveyed aren't aware of social media as a purchasing channel.

Consumers often start browsing and researching online, yet ultimately make purchases in the store

  • 39% say they went to a store because they preferred to touch and feel the product.                  
  • 36% said they visited a store to compare several brands of the same product.
  • 22% said they opted for the store because they needed the product immediately. 

Take-Away:   "On average, more than three-quarters of consumers are using two or more channels to browse, research, and purchase products. Because consumers are coming to merchants through multiple channels, it’s necessary to link those experiences and create a continuous conversation to avoid gaps where the sale could be lost. Merchants don’t have to necessarily serve up the identical experience in each channel, but rather optimize and connect channel interactions to deliver consistent brand experiences."

Source: Print in the mix/ Utopia/ATG


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