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Test Your Customer IQ

Kick off 2008 with the latest info on American consumers. You'll find helpful tips and insights into the minds of your customers with this fun quiz.

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There's a never-ending evolution in behaviors and preferences that impacts all their purchase decisions. And staying up-to-date on the latest consumer data can make or break your . Kick-start the new year with this quiz and get valuable marketing tips that will put you ahead of the competitive curve.

1. American consumers would prefer to receive gifts over gift cards.
A. True
B. False

2. Today's shoppers believe in "green" products and services.
A. True
B. False

3. There are more U.S. adults with six-figure incomes under the age of 35 than there are over the age of 54.
A. True
B. False

4. Many people enjoy online consumer reviews of products and services, but say the reviews have little influence over their actual purchases.
A. True
B. False

5. Which of the following are consumers more likely to open?
A. Unsolicited direct mail
B. Unsolicited e-mail

6. In which of these media are consumers more likely to "notice" ads?
A. Websites with user-generated content

7. In campaigns that use multiple media, what is the most effective combination for increasing customers' ad awareness and their intention to make a purchase?
A. TV and magazines
B. TV and online

Get the Answers

1. B: False
A BIGresearch American Pulse Survey published in November showed that more than half of Americans would rather receive a gift card or cash in lieu of a gift. Many of those surveyed said they don't like gifts that are chosen for them and that they hate to return gifts. In fact, 82.4 percent said gift cards are a smart gift alternative for people they don't know well. Not only do gift cards represent an opportunity to increase sales by providing the perfect gift, but they can also generate pure profit. Nearly 14 percent of those surveyed say they've received gift cards that they've never redeemed, and another 16 percent have received cards that they've only partially redeemed.

2. B. False
Seven in 10 Americans either "strongly" or "somewhat" agree that when companies call a product green it's usually just a "marketing tactic," according to a spring 2007 study by Ipsos Reid. When marketing a green product or service, it's important to understand that the majority of your customers will evaluate your offer by asking, "What's in it for me?" To build trust, base your claims on irrefutable fact and communicate the most important personal benefits, such as how your product or service will save purchasers time, money or their health.

3. A. True
Looking for an affluent target audience? There are 23.2 million adults in the 87 metropolitan markets regularly surveyed by The Media Audit with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more. Close to 27 percent, or 6.2 million, are under the age of 35, and just 19 percent, or 4.4 million, are over the age of 54. There is still a disparity between the genders, however. Of the 6.2 million 18- to 34-year-olds with six-figure incomes, approximately 60 percent are men, despite the fact that the women are more inclined to have a college degree.

4. B. False
In 2008, you'll want to put a greater emphasis on eliciting customer feedback and reviews on your website, or place your products on sites where they can earn positive reviews. According to a survey by the Deloitte & Touche USA Consumer Products group, not only do 62 percent of consumers read customer reviews, but more than eight in 10 also say their purchase decisions have been directly influenced by them. What's more, seven in 10 of the consumers who read consumer reviews share them with friends, family or colleagues.

5. A. Unsolicited direct mail
A survey by International Communications Research, commissioned by Pitney Bowes, found that 70 percent of consumers prefer to receive unsolicited information on products and services by mail from companies with which they are not currently doing . The survey also found that 31 percent of consumers are less likely to discard unopened mail, while more than 53 percent discard unsolicited e-mails about new products. This year, use direct mail to open doors with new prospects and rely on e-mail to maintain communications with your in-house list of customers and prospects who are familiar with your company.

6. B. TV
As you embrace new alternative media in 2008, it's imperative not to discard traditional vehicles. A study by comScore measuring consumers' receptivity to advertising in different media formats reaffirmed that an ad's effectiveness is based, in part, on the media that carries it. The survey found that 85 percent of consumers are most likely to notice advertising for a product or service if they see it on TV. User-generated content sites achieved a much lower attention level, at just 28 percent. TV ads also earn a higher level of trust than ads carried on user-generated content sites.

7. A. TV and magazines
A new guide from Magazine Publishers of America analyzes cross-media accountability data from 32 studies to determine each medium's effectiveness throughout the purchase funnel. It confirms that synergy is vital. A combination of three media performs better than two, and two perform better than one. The combination of TV and magazines produces significantly more "lift" than the combo of TV and online marketing. In fact, magazines are by far the most effective in increasing purchase intent. And they can be top performers when used in combination with other media to drive traffic to a website.

What's your score?
Give yourself 20 points for each correct answer.
120-140--You're a marketing maven
60-100--Not too shabby
40 or less--Time to brush up

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