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Consumers Blending Social Media, Email Marketing

Almost 40% consult Facebook and Twitter to complement the information, deals, and news they receive from companies via e-mail marketing.

Almost 40% of consumers consult Facebook and Twitter to complement the information, deals, and news they receive from companies via e-mail marketing, according to a new study by ExactTarget.

"Consumers don't silo their engagement with brands to a single channel, instead they tend to layer marketing channels on top of one another to meet their different objectives," said Morgan Stewart, principal, ExactTarget's research and education group, in a statement. "The things that motivate consumers to go online initially dictate where and how they choose to engage with brands -- whether that be e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter."

The buying public apparently is willing to develop relationships with businesses: More than 90% of consumers that are a fan of or like at least one brand on Facebook also get at least one permission-based marketing e-mail each day, the study of 1,500 consumers found. And more than three-quarters of consumers that follow at least one brand on Twitter subscribe to at least one brand's e-mail marketing, according to the Social Profile study.

"Simply understanding demographics of a customer group is no longer enough," said Tim Kopp, ExactTarget's chief marketing officer. "By bridging the gap between demographics and consumer motivations, the Social Profile research identifies unique personas that give marketers an entirely new level of understanding of consumer behavior."

One-third of consumers identified themselves as "info seekers" and were most-heavily influenced by product reviews and other forms of user-generated content. About 45% of mothers with children living at home called themselves "deal seekers" and on average were a fan of 10 brands on Facebook, followed 10 companies on Twitter, and received 14 permission-based marketing e-mails every day, the study showed.

Slightly more than one-fourth of buyers under 25 called themselves "social butterflies." These consumers were fans of the most brands on Facebook and were most likely to buy from companies that send permission-based e-mail, according to ExactTarget's study.

Ice cream giant Ben & Jerry's disclosed this week it will rely on Facebook and Twitter to communicate with consumers, sending only one e-mail newsletter per year, according to reports.

And instead of unveiling its 2011 Explorer at an auto show, Ford is expected to debut its latest SUV this month on Facebook, according to USA Today.

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