UK consumers becoming 'brand blind', study finds

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 15, 2005

An excess of marketing is starting to damage brand profiles, according to a GfK NOP survey commissioned by predictive analytics firm SPSS, with consumers now reporting symptoms of 'brand blindness', such as associating products with irritation rather than a desire to buy.

In the survey, 30% of the 1,001 people questioned cited being contacted too often as the most annoying form of marketing - even above being called at a bad time or being contacted by a pre-recorded voice message.

Wind-up calls?
The survey found that consumers eventually begin to associate an over-marketed brand with irritation rather than with a desire to buy. They simply delete or throw away unopened direct mail and emails based on subjective emotions, rather than the quality of the content or the reputation of the product or company.

Although this can mean a waste of valuable marketing dollars, it can also have a more serious, long-term effect: Even after a marketing campaign has finished, consumers are still likely to pass on their negative feelings to friends and family. The negative implications for a company or brand profile are potentially massive.

New attitudes
Noel Coloe, UK general manager for SPSS, said: "The survey throws new light on increasingly sophisticated consumer attitudes toward marketing activity. People who are being targeted too often or with too much information will quickly develop an aversion to a brand, and will feel only frustration toward a company when they see the brand itself."

Post still preferred
The research also found that consumers still prefer to be contacted by direct mail, rather than be email or SMS (text messaging). SPSS believes that marketing campaigns should be designed with this insight in mind in order to emphasise quality instead of using sheer quantity to get through to the consumer.

According to Coloe, "Marketers must ensure they contact the right people at the right time. There is no doubt an effective direct marketing campaign can achieve great results, but these campaigns need to be tailored to appeal to the right people with the right information. This is not only cost-effective, but avoids the backlash the survey observed."

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