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College students reveal how they prefer to get information and marketing pitches.

Ira Mayer, president of New York City-based EPM Communications Inc., recently convened a forum of eight New York University students working at EPM for the summer--asking them "how they use both traditional and new media, and what they like and don't like about the ways companies market to them."

They replied the next day in a memo sent to Mayer. Ah Young Kim, Ken Louie, Michelle Scarpinito, Nina Spezzaferro, and Dan Tarapacki wrote:

E-mail: E-mail information [is] not completely absorbed due to a short attention span, pop-up ads, spam, overload of information and advertising on the internet, and feelings of invading personal privacy.

We see e-mail as a secondary tool for making connections to people because they will be taken seriously after an established connection is made. A lot of e-mails are ignored or skimmed because it's difficult to concentrate and discover what's important.

Our main reasons for using e-mail are for personal communication, school projects, and a way for people you know to reach you.

Electronic media, such as e-mail, is very personal, and sometimes very private, to our generation. We consider an invasion of our e-mail--i.e., excessive spam, unknown newsletters, unknown advertisements, etc.--as very personal invasion of our "space."

Our parents, on the other hand, typically consider an invasion of physical mail such as excessive advertisements, unknown mailings, junk mail, even solicitation phone calls, as a severe invasion of their personal "space."

Print: We trust publications on paper more so than electronic means, but this is directly related to the price-quality inference. [That's music to my ears.--Ira Mayer.] Free newspapers are not equated with high quality. We associate electronic publications with less credibility. There is a reason our professors limit the number of internet sources we are allowed to use for research papers and do not limit the number of print publications we are allowed to use for these assignments....

Telephone: We absolutely do not want advertising coming through on our cell phones, whether that be by calls or text messages. Related to the e-mail issue, there is a big problem with respect and privacy.

While we have accepted that our homes aren't free from junk mail and telemarketers, we value our personal e-mail accounts and cell phones because they seem the best way to communicate without interference.

Again, people in our generation consider e-mail, internet, cell phones--all these technologically advanced electronic tools--extensions of ourselves, private and personal tools, just as [the] older generation considers home-mail delivery and home telephones very private and personal extensions of themselves.

Internet: Main purposes for the internet are browsing and research, but again, not the most credible sources.

Miscellaneous points:

* We care less about [physical] junk mail, because it's a given in our minds, but spam and other unwanted e-mails really bother us--invasion of privacy and "space."

* We think fax machines are outdated--[you] will not reach our generation by marketing to us via fax.

* Two key issues are building trust and maintaining privacy. Build relationships, don't invade personal space-time.

* Personalization is better, but we are smart enough to know when a mail-merge has put our name into a form letter. Personal interaction and developing a relationship is the best way to get our attention.

EPM, 160 Mercer St., 3rd Floor., New York, NY 10012, 212-941-0099, fax 212-941-1622,
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Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Aug 19, 2004
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