Which Types of Brand Communications Most Influence Purchase Decisions?

September 11, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Loyalty & Purchase Habits | Brand-Related | Data-driven | Magazines | Newspapers | Personalization | Radio | TV Advertising | Word of Mouth

Epsilon-Consumers-Most-Influential-Communication-Types-Sept2014There’s no substitute for relevance, as numerous studies attest, and new research from Epsilon and Wylei Research finds yet again that communications containing relevant information and offers are most likely to impact consumers’ purchase decisions. The data indicates that communications including personal information are significantly influential; while discounts may fuel email-driven purchases, this new study shows that those promotions need to be relevant in order to have an impact. Indeed, few respondents reported that promotional offers not relevant to their needs at the time of the message have a positive impact on their purchase decisions.

Besides brand communications, word-of-mouth is a well-known source of influential communications. According to the Epsilon study, friends (59%) and family members (55%) are the most likely to influence consumers’ decisions of whether or not to purchase or sign up for a product or service. The influence of friends, family or colleagues is heaviest when it comes to purchase decision in the financial service, insurance and travel categories, per the report.

Notably, ratings and review websites (50%) appear to influence more respondents than spouses or partners (46%) and co-workers (30%), though. Among paid media (“online search engines” being vague as to whether organic or paid results are the influence), print and TV are on par, ahead of radio. (For more on the relative effectiveness of paid advertising channels, see MarketingCharts’ Debrief, “Advertising Channels With the Largest Purchase Influence on Consumers.”)

Separately, the study finds that the experiences most likely to cause consumers to switch brands are: a company billing them incorrectly; and a company being irresponsive to the respondents’ requests/complaints. For clothing retailers, though, a difficult return/refund policy is a bigger cause of switching behavior than irresponsiveness to requests and complaints.

Interestingly, while relevant communications are strong purchase influencers, few consumers feel that they would switch brands on the basis of offers and communications not being personalized to their needs.

About the Data: The survey was conducted among Research Now’s US panel of participants and includes respondents who are 18-64 years old and do not work in any of the following companies:

  • Market research;
  • Advertising, public relations, or marketing;
  • Television, radio, or newspaper publishing;
  • Any company that offers reward points or miles.

The sample is representative of gender, age and region distributions in the country. Quotas were put in place to obtain 1,000 US respondents. The survey was in field from 1/20/14-1/31/14. The sampling error for a sample size of 1,000 is +/- 3.1% at a 95% confidence level.

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