Markkinointiviestinnän kanavapreferenssit kuluttajilla = Consumer preferences for marketing communication channels

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School of Business | Doctoral thesis (monograph) | Defence date: 2012-08-24
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Aalto University publication series. DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, 94/2012
Marketing communication is at a turning point in which new digital channels and services are continuously being introduced to consumers. In this study, how agreeable the currently available channels are to consumers and how their preferences have changed during the last few years are examined. The study is theoretically based on media choice theories, of which especially McQuail's uses and gratifications approach is utilized. Support is also provided by empirical studies of marketing communication. However, only a few of these compare as wide a selection of channels as this study. For our own empirical analysis, three sets of survey data were collected. Each of them is a representative sample of over-15-year-old Finnish consumers and each had over a thousand respondents. The results show that the most preferred marketing communication channels for consumers are newspapers, Internet search services, and catalogs or leaflets, which are all anonymous information search channels. Sales phone calls and text messages, which both are personal reception channels, were in turn considered the most disagreeable channels. Different consumers prefer different channels. The differences in attitudes are well expressed by the fact that some consumers want to remain totally anonymous to sellers, whereas others also want to give their personal data for marketers' use and, in addition, also receive any unaddressed marketing communication. On the other hand, attitude differences were found in the juxtaposition of paper and digital communication. In 2006, a group which favored only digital marketing was not yet distinguished; but in 2010, every fifth consumer already wanted to utilize marketing communication mainly digitally. Estimation of the general model for channel preferences gave the result that the most effective explanatory variable is perceived controllability. Consumers expect that they can move and use marketing messages according their own schedule, and may easily reject uninteresting messages. Furthermore, consumers expect a certain unobtrusiveness; that messages in the channel do not push annoyingly or interrupt other matters that are considered more important. The finding and definition of this controllability utility, and also its discovery as the most important factor influencing the preferences, are the main results of the study. The relatively slow pace of change in the preferences is explained by the delay in which the old, familiar and reasonably working channel can be favored, even when some other channel already seems more useful. The third most important factor is channels' ability to entertain, which means a pleasing reception experience, and also relaxing withdrawal from the daily routine. The fourth remarkable explanatory factor is support for personal identity, which means that consumers prefer marketing communication channels which they feel arouse their interests, take their needs into consideration, and are meant just for themselves. The main research report is in Finnish but includes a 19-page summary in English.
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Uusitalo, Liisa, professor
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