More than twice as many British consumers say that traditional direct marketing is more likely than digital marketing to encourage them to go to a web site and seriously consider a purchase from a company for the first time, according to a poll by Pitney Bowes.
The survey found that 60% of respondents believe that offline marketing, in the form of addressed mail or direct response advertising, is most likely to get them to visit the web site of a company they have not dealt with before, with the intention of buying a product or service.
Only 24% of the consumers surveyed said that a marketing message delivered through digital media such as email, a sponsored web link, or an ad on a social networking web site would drive them to a company's web site with a first-time purchase in mind.
The results were based on a broader European study which involved a survey of 10,000 adults in the UK, Germany, France, Scandinavia and Benelux. Interestingly, women in the UK were more likely to seriously consider a first-time purchase from a web site after being directed there by a traditional marketing message than men (63% compared to only 57% of men). But, when driven to a web site through an online platform, men were more likely to visit with a purchase in mind (25%) than women (23%).
Direct marketing is, however, more effective at driving serious consumer traffic than digital activity across all age groups, with UK consumers aged 35-34 (67%) being most likely to visit and consider buying from a web site for the first time after being directed there by an offline message. The next most likely age group was 35-44 (64%), followed by 45-54 (60%) and the 18-24 and 55+ age groups both at 56%.
When it came to UK consumers responding to digital marketing messages and considering buying from the web site of a company they had not bought from before, the 18-24 age group was most responsive (41%), followed by 25-34 (37%), 35-44 (25%), 45-54 (16%) and 55+ (14%).
Overall, the UK figure lagged slightly behind the European total of 62% for respondents who said that direct marketing was most likely to drive them to go to a web site and consider buying from a company they had not dealt with before, while the figures for digital marketing achieving the same goal was equal, at 24% for both the UK and Europe.
According to Gareth Stoten, general manager for Pitney Bowes in the UK and Ireland, "These figures show how critically important it is for businesses to find the right marketing mix. Online channels such as social networking are a hot topic, but it is traditional print and mail channels that are driving people to make web-based purchases. A digital presence on its own does not provide a strong enough impetus for brands seeking to make a connection with prospects, even when it comes to consumers looking to buy over the internet."