The Most Sexy, Surprising and Shocking Marketing Numbers of 2008

Posted: December 30, 2008 in Business, Directed Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Marketing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s the end of the year, and that means it’s time for bloggers everywhere to do one of two things:  an annual recap, or predictions for next year. I’d like to examine some marketing numbers that are in turn sexy, surprising and shocking.

SEXY

Let’s start with my favorite number of the whole year, and it’s about as sexy as a marketing number gets:  52% of  women 39-44 would rather give up sex for 2 weeks than internet access for the same period of time. It’s part of a new survey by Harris Interactive sponsored by Intel that finds that most Americans feel Internet access is essential to their lives. The survey also says that 82% say having internet enabled devices help them stay current on the economy and 87% say it’s helped them save money by:  price comparison research before buying (84%), simply shopping online (66%), or by finding coupons, discounts, or special internet-only promotions (65%).

With numbers like that, combined with the retail meltdown, rising costs of commercial space and inventory, and the uncertain cost of energy, can we as marketers continue to look at internet retailing as an ugly stepchild, with a mere fraction of advertising and marketing spending?

SURPRISING

Now my second favorite numbers: 23% and 36%. They’re the number of adults over 65 who play games, and the percentage of those who play every day. Why are they surprising? The 36% is higher than any other age group except teens.  That’s right — according to the Pew Internet Project’s Annual Gadget Survey, people over 65 play games more frequently than any other adults. A few other interesting numbers from this survey:   53% and 21%.  It’s the number of adults (18+) who play video games and the number who play every day! And of course, no surprise here:  97% of teens and 81.9% of 18-29-year olds play games.

With numbers like that, can most of us continue to ignore gaming platforms as marketing mediums any longer, or avoid figuring out an effective and hopefully respectful way to communicate with consumers using this medium?

SHOCKING

My third and final number is 16%. It’s the number of high school and college students who actually pay attention to marketing emails, according to an eROI survey reported on Marketing Charts.  And it’s shocking given that these are email super users. On average, they’ve been sending emails since they were 13, had email addresses for 8 years and have 2.4 email addresses each. They love email:  26% say it’s their favorite form of communication. (Of course, 37% choose texting.) 55% of them check their email more than 3 times a day.

And yet only 16% read marketing emails and 66% of them say that even if they read an email, they never take action afterward. (I know what you’re thinking:  a 16% open rate and a 34% conversion rate would be great, if it was your email. But that’s not an open rate, it’s an avoidance rate and it’s a nightmare for student marketers.)

With numbers like these, can we continue sending messages that are innocuous at best and spam at worst, rather than looking to use new technologies to make more engaging connections with the lucrative teenage consumer?

So, what are my predictions for next year? Sorry, my crystal ball is cracked and my prognostic abilities are more willful than prescient. For instance, some look at Twitter’s 600% growth in 2008 and the $1 Million in revenue Dell attributes to Twitter and see the next big marketing tool. I’m not sure what I see, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets overwhelmed with poorly conceived and executed marketing messages and become less use-worthy than it is now. (See, willful — I really don’t want to have to learn how to use Twitter.)

With sexy, surprising and shocking numbers like these concerning critical demographic groups like women, seniors and students, what I will do is leave you with one question to ponder as we enter 2009:

Can someone please explain to me how any marketers can even think of doing any business as usual in 2009?

Comments
  1. Catchy blog post title – one of the best that I’ve seen. Thanks for the mention on the eROI Student Survey Report we did. Got to love the online marketing industry that moves so fast, but remember that email will always be a staple of every marketer’s online marketing mix.

    Cheers,
    Ryan Buchanan
    eROI, CEO

    • jlsimons says:

      Hi Ryan:
      Thanks for the comment, and for the report itself. Very enlightening. I was actually heartened by the reasons you cited for the students who do take action: Product Interest (60%), attraction to special offer (47%), and that they like the design of the email (11%). (My designers especially will like that one!) I agree that email will always be an important part of the mix. I think the trick is to use it at the right times in the right way. Ongoing communication of sales, discounts, specials, new products, etc. to existing customers is at the top of my list. Email is the most efficient way to handle transactional communications and many types of CRM. Plus, it’s green. But thanks to the data in your survey, I can be a smarter marketer now. Useful data, be it shocking or comforting, is always helpful.

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