According to new research from Experian, a global information services company, Hong Kong consumers are suffering from information overload and no longer respond to blanket marketing.

The research of 1,046 consumers in Hong Kong, which explored how effectively the general population responds to and engages with marketing efforts, reveals a clear disconnect between the communications they want from brands and the way they are being targeted by marketers. Over a third of all respondents have actively taken the upper hand when it comes to managing the consumer-marketer relationship, with 35% creating a separate email address to avoid being personally targeted by brands.

In addition, 55% of consumers cited that they are very selective about what opt-ins, newsletters or updates they sign up for to ensure they are only receiving messages that are relevant to their particular interests. The importance of relevancy is further reinforced by the finding that almost two-thirds (63%) of participants only actually read targeted communications that are personally relevant, with everything else being deleted or thrown away. Over a quarter (26%) ofconsumers said the ideal frequency of brand communications is once a week while 13% said it is not an issue as long as the communication is relevant.

"We're clearly hearing from Hong Kong consumers that they feel inundated by marketing communications and as a result the majority of them are becoming more selective about the level of personal information they share and the types of information they sign up to," said Graeme Beardsell, Experian Asia Pacific's Chief Customer Development and Marketing Officer. "The current trend of sending undifferentiated email and SMS campaigns to consumers is not generating the impact that marketers desire. In response, marketers must start listening to consumers to drive responsive campaigns, to test and learn, and provide more personalised, one-to-one marketing communications."

Key findings from the research "The Future of Multi-Channel Marketing" are:

Consumer Frustration

  • 23% of consumers in Hong Kong named "inability to unsubscribe from unwanted communication (email, newsletters, direct mail, SMS alerts, socialmedia messages)" as their number one frustration;
  • 19% of respondents think "receiving content that isn't relevant or helpful" is their biggest annoyance;
  • At the same time, 17% of consumers feel that "receiving content that comes through at the wrong time of day" frustrates them most.

Preferred channels – it's not all about social

  • Hong Kong consumers agree that a company website is the most valuable source of information they use to look for information about a brand, with 78% stating that it is a relevant or very relevant source;
  • Some 68% of consumers rate print media as a relevant or very relevant channel. However, it has been demoted by marketers to the bottom of the ladder, who ranked it as one of the least important ways (39%) that they see consumers getting information about their brand;
  • Search engines (62%) and social media (61%) are also valued sources of information, ranking third and fourth respectively;
  • Mobile apps (48%) and Linked In (26%) are perceived as the least important channels for obtaining brand or company information.

Brand Engagement

  • Give aways and incentives (39%) is the number one way for brands to engage the Hong Kong consumer;
  • Brand experiences, stunts and interactive content (18%) are the next favourite means of engagement closely followed by social media (15%);
  • The least preferable means of engagement were mobile apps (3%) and telephone marketing (1%).

"Consumers are telling us that print media is still a very relevant channel and a more valuable source of information than some digital channels marketers are turning to," said Beardsell. "The medium is just as critical as the message when it comes to engagement. Consumers want to have a dialogue with brands and know that a brand values their view and provides an intelligent and timely response via their preferred channel. It's really important that marketers align the delivery of the message with their desired audience via the most appropriate channel at a relevant time. Only then will they succeed."

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By MediaBUZZ