READING AND ACTING: Examining the Folkways of Reader-Service Inquirers

Do people actually do anything with the information they request from companies by sending in reader-service inquiry cards? Cahners Publishing recently looked into the matter, surveying some 6,000 people who’d requested additional information from advertisers in a dozen Cahners publications last year. As the chart here shows, a sizable minority actually end up buying the product or service about which they’ve inquired, with a less-sizable minority buying a competing brand. Cahners also asked respondents how long it takes, on average, to receive the information they’ve requested. While an increasingly impatient 3% of respondents report waiting more than six weeks to get the material, the average is 3.4 weeks. Is that quick enough? Usually it is, judging from the fact that 82% of respondents say they ‘almost always’ receive the information they’ve requested in time for it ‘to be helpful on current projects.’ In any case, about 20% of respondents say they’re collecting information for future reference, not to help make an immediate purchase decision.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)