This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

December 28, 2011

Marketers Paying for Access to Consumers

In the early 1990s, marketing futurist Donald Libey forecast that marketers would be paying prospects and customers for the privilege of sending them advertising messages.

The future is here today. We have certainly already seen this type of promotion in numerous forms, including discounts and coupons for signing up for regular promotional emails, special promotional discount codes, and exclusive access to mail-in rebates. Marketers are indeed paying for access. Moreover, with the new QR (Quick Response) Codes mobile tag reader technology, retailers can attract prospective buyers into their stores in real time.

We also know that consumers are spending a significant number of hours per week online and on a variety of mobile devices for shopping and entertainment. Most recently, we learned what is likely to be next. KPMG’s brand new 5th Annual Consumers & Convergence study revealed many consumers would even permit online tracking by retailers and service providers, if they receive discounts. In fact, 52 percent said they would be willing to let advertisers track usage patterns and personal information---if they received lower product costs or free online content. In addition, 43 percent would be willing to receive advertising in exchange for lower fees or service.

Not surprisingly, tech savvy consumers aged 16 to 34 were more inclined to allow both tracking and advertising, than those above age 34. Examining mobile phone usage, only 28 percent said they would be willing to receive such advertising for a lower fee. Again, younger adults were more likely to consider this exchange (35 percent), compared to 21 percent for older adults. Almost half of the polled consumers also said they were strongly influenced by manufacturer or store customer feedback and ratings online (46 percent).

Look for retailers and other service suppliers to get very creative in how they will add value and pay consumers for access and good reviews, beyond discounts and coupons. As services like airlines and hotels look for new revenue streams, expect to see more and more affiliate marketing of other products and services. Some marketers will give attractive rewards that are traded from travel and other leisure suppliers.

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