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Marketers, you are not normal. 

You may think you know what the average consumer wants, but the reality is that you do not have normal internet habits, you do not shop like the average consumer does and you do not have average social media knowledge. You cannot be a focus group.

This is the message that ExactTarget is attempting to get out in their new report, Marketers From Mars, which compares marketers' use of email, social media and other channels against that of consumers - and is something Econsultancy has raised before as being an issue within the industry. 

The report highlights the possibility that marketers’ are incorrectly targeting consumers, using their owns beliefs of what consumers want rather than actually looking at what consumers are after.

The smartphone discrepency

According to the report, 90% of marketers own a smartphone, whereas only 51% of consumers do.

While having a fully functioning mobile app has been high on the priority list for marketers for some time now, focusing all attention and money towards this could mean that around half of the target market is being alienated. 

There are also distinct differences in how the two groups use their smartphones.

While 93% of marketers said they had made a purchase as the direct result of a marketing message received through email, only 56% of consumers with a smartphone had done this and only 42% of non-smartphones users had. 

Similarly, while 74% of marketers had purchased from a specific deal site, only 44% of consumers with a smartphone had done this.

Equally, only 24% of non-smartphones users said they had made a purcahse this way, showing large discrepancies in the ways that consumers and marketers use their phones.  

Differing priorities

When marketers and consumers were asked where they think more marketing time and resources should be invested in order to improve customer loyalty, the results were distinctly different.

Email is the where the largest proportion of consumers think brands should be focusing their efforts (33%), followed by website (24%), Facebook (22%), more product content (14%) and better in-store help (12%).

Marketers also rated email as a priority during the next twelve months to grow loyalty (26%) but product content came a close second second (25%), despite a massive disparity. 

Having a website presence (24%) came joint third, but beyond this, the results are visibly mixed. 

If we were to go on the results above it would seem that the average consumer wants better emails, fresh content and more Facebook promotions, something already highlighted by Econsultancy research

Given that only 6% of consumers surveyed saw non-promotional Facebook content as a worthy investment (and Twitter barely got a look in), it would seem consumers are actively expecting different marketing communications from the channels viewed by marketers as top priorities this year. 

Staying aware

Trying to be the first adopter of a new platform and aiming to keep up with every latest trend is forcing marketers into new areas, which is good, but it could be at the expense of consumer loyalty.

The reason for this is that the high knowledge of online and social platforms that marketers share isn’t typical of the average consumer and it doesn’t necessarily match up with what consumers want and need.  

This isn’t to say that marketers shouldn’t be focusing their attention on channels that their consumers are yet to fully understand, but it is worth remembering that matching existing expectations is just, if not more, important to achieving most marketing goals. 

Claire Brinkley

Published 18 February, 2013 by Claire Brinkley

Claire Brinkley is Econsultancy Australia's news and insight reporter. Follow her on Twitter, Google+ or connect with her on LinkedIn

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