SYDNEY: Many marketers in Australia are failing to meet the needs of their target audience, resulting in a growing disconnect between these two groups, a study has found.

Experian Marketing Services polled 1,000 consumers and 330 executives, and revealed 70% of shoppers placed "giveaways" and incentives among the top three methods for engaging with brands, ahead of direct mail on 60%, email on 46%, and ads on 42%.

However, 59% of the public panel questioned had "disengaged" with these and other communications efforts from at least four brands having been exposed to poorly-targeted or irrelevant messaging.

Indeed, 8% of the panel had stopped acknowledging the attempts of 20 or more companies to attract their attention for the same reason.

Elsewhere, 27% of interviewees had created a separate email address for messages from brand so their main account was not "inundated" with such material.

Despite the buzz surrounding social media, just 4% of those surveyed perceived sites like Facebook and Twitter as the marketing channel they trusted most, while 29% put it among their bottom three.

Marketers appear to have recognised the need for a nuanced approach, as 89% now employ segmentation strategies and 69% are becoming "more selective" about the channels they use.

A further 50% of industry specialists agreed "cutting through the white noise" was a key challenge to be overcome.

In the coming 12 months, 58% of marketers intend to boost spending levels on social media, either with regard to advertising and broader activities, and 52% plan to augment email budgets.

Another 47% will raise their outlay on online ads, a figure reaching 41% for both apps and events. An additional 36% are set to enhance expenditure rates on print, standing at 28% for broadcast media.

In all, 91% of communications experts stated official websites were the most important way to find out about products, as did 85% of shoppers.

By contrast, while 70% of consumers valued print media as an information source, marketers posted 28% here.

Data sourced from B&T/Experian Marketing Services; additional content by Warc staff