Pitney Bowes Advises Marketers: Don't Be Seduced by Social Media

STAMFORD, Conn., November 28, 2011 - Brands seduced by the hype around social media risk alienating their customers, according to a report by Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) called The Customer Dance: When to Lead and When to Follow. By investing time and money in social media interaction, marketers may be out of step as customers prefer that brands focus on the basics of their customer communications.

The Pitney Bowes survey asked more than 6,000 consumers in the US and Europe about which activities inspire repeat purchases and brand loyalty. When asked about social media, just 18 percent of consumers said that social media activity inspires repeat purchases or brand loyalty for small businesses and 25 percent of consumers said the method is effective for larger brands. Also, on the “less effective” list from a consumer perspective are personalized web pages at 14 percent for small businesses and 20 percent for large; and, online customer communities at 24 percent for small businesses, but a more impressive 29 percent for larger brands.

The findings reveal that customers are more likely to stay loyal and purchase again from companies that offer them concrete customer service initiatives and communication management rather than social media interaction, such as:

  • Providing an easy and effective way to contact a company (53%)
  • Providing home delivery (52%)
  • Giving consumers a say in development of products and services (46%)
  • Featuring controls so consumers may select preferred channels and frequency of communications (46%)

The results highlight the importance of establishing the basics before moving on to techniques that deepen customer involvement before moving onto a social relationship. Brands that lead with social media without appropriately listening and addressing customers may fall out of step with their thinking.

About Pitney Bowes

Delivering more than 90 years of innovation, Pitney Bowes provides software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Long known for making its customers more productive, Pitney Bowes is increasingly helping other companies grow their business through advanced customer communications management. Pitney Bowes is a $5.4 billion company with more than 30,000 employees worldwide. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity™. www.pb.com