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Automotive Consumers Vastly Prefer Email for Direct Marketing Messages

Automotive Consumers Vastly Prefer Email for Direct Marketing Messages


Email is by far the most popular channel among US Automotive consumers for receiving permission-based promotional messages from car dealerships and auto manufacturers, according to [pdf] ExactTarget survey results released in April 2012. 77% of respondents chose email, with direct mail (letter, catalogs, postcards, etc. - 9%), text messaging (SMS) on a cell phone (5%), Facebook (4%), and phone (2%) trailing distantly.

Email’s primacy for automotive consumers is constant across all age groups: it is most popular among 35-44-year-olds and 55-64-year-olds (both at 81%). The preference for email by car buyers and service customers appears to be global, at least when the channel is stacked up against SMS: data from survey results released in March 2012 by Ipsos indicates that three-quarters of consumers worldwide prefer receiving offers via email rather than text (SMS).

And according to ExactTarget, email’s dominance as a preferred channel for direct marketing messages appears to be on the rise, growing 7% from 72% of respondents in 2008, while preference for direct mail promotions has plummeted from 26% to 9% in the same period.

This finding conflicts somewhat with survey results released in December 2011 by Epsilon Targeting, which found that almost 3 in 5 American automotive consumers report that they enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products, compared to just 43% who say they enjoy getting emails from OEM brands and dealerships on new products.

Email Preferred for Personal Communications

Email is not just a preferred automotive marketing channel, either, finds ExactTarget. In fact, when automotive sales and service consumers were asked which channels they used most frequently for personal written communications, a plurality chose email (45%), ahead of text messages (36%), and posting messages on Facebook (12%). Indeed, 91% of respondents said they use email at least daily, compared to 57% who responded that way about Facebook and text messages.

Even so, the proportion choosing email as their most frequent personal written communication device has dropped almost one-third from 66% in 2008. In that time span, the popularity of text messages has more than doubled from 16% to 36%, while social networks have more than quadrupled in popularity, from 3% to 13%.

Confirmations and Alert Messages Most Acceptable

Data from the “2012 Channel Preference Survey” indicates that when combining all direct marketing channels, confirmation, “Thank You,” or purchase receipt for transaction messages are most accepted by automotive consumers, with an average rating of 4.5 on a 5-point scale (with 5 being completely acceptable, and 1 being completely unacceptable). Financial alerts from captive lenders, banks and financial institutions are next, at 3.2, followed by travel alerts, at 3.1. Promotional messages from dealerships and car companies whom respondents have granted permission to send ongoing information are further down the list, at an average rating of 2.9.

When receiving these messages via email, though, automotive consumers appear to find them much more acceptable. For example, they rate dealership and car company promotional messages an average of 4 through this channel, compared to the overall average of 2.9 for automotive marketing communications across all channels. Similarly, dealer and OEM customer service messages are more acceptable on email than through the overall average (3.6 vs. 2.7), as are polls, surveys, or questionnaires related to a dealership or car company’s products or services (also 3.6 vs. 2.7).

Other Findings:

  • When asked what channels they are using to share content with their friends and family, most respondents chose sending an email (63%), ahead of posting it on Facebook (33%) and calling them on the phone (29%).

  • Teenagers (15-17) are much more likely than even slightly older respondents (18-24) to prefer receiving marketing messages via Twitter (4% vs. 1%) and to share via Twitter (17% vs. 5%).

About the Data: A total of 1,481 online consumers completed the ExactTarget survey between January 27, 2012, and February 1, 2012. For data concerning consumers 15-17 years of age, an invitation was first sent to parents with teen-aged children living in the home, requesting permission for their child’s participation in the survey.


The Ipsos results are based on a survey of 12,500 respondents worldwide.

Edited from Source: www.marketingcharts.com

Views: 92

Tags: Automotive, Consumers, Direct, Email, Marketing, Messages, Prefer, Vastly

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Comment by Cody Flynn on April 12, 2012 at 11:34am

Great article Ralph, thanks!

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