The world of marketing is in the midst of a revolution that will create previously unimaginable ways for companies to engage with their customers in a timely and intimate way.
The arrival of ever more data about consumers’ behaviors, attitudes, and aspirations, together with a rapidly expanding array of communication channels to interact with them, should provide the opportunity to understand and reach out to consumers with a relevance that could previously only be dreamed of. The early signs are promising, as marketing has already begun to migrate from a “spray and pray” approach to a more personalized approach, where a tailored message is targeted at the individual consumer based on a real understanding of that person’s needs.
Looking to the future, we are about to enter a golden age of marketing, where the right message can be delivered to the right person at the right time in the right place in the right way--and to put the icing on the cake, we’ll be able to measure how the message worked. Achieving good ROI for marketing expenditure could finally become more of a science than an art.
So why a risk of break up? Surely, on the above evidence, the future for marketing as a whole and brand relationships looks rosy?
It does, but as with every era of technological development, there is a danger that industry gets carried away with what’s possible at the expense of what’s really wanted by consumers.
In an always-on digital future, we must ensure that we use technology to do things for and with consumers, not to them. Our global research findings have uncovered some of the early warning signs that could lead consumers to break up with brands in a digital world.
1. Oversaturation: Quite simply, this space is saturated, and many consumers are already on the verge of being overwhelmed by the volume of messages they receive. In our “Global Digital Study,” 80% of respondents claimed to receive junk email in their inboxes every day. We are already seeing the early signs of similar overuse of mobile-messaging tools.
2. Tone-deaf messaging: Even if the message gets through the consumers’ increasingly sophisticated screening, it has to be genuine and customized. Not being relevant is the top reason why global consumers will disengage with brands digitally.
3. Wrong time, wrong place: Location-based messaging is a trending topic in marketing circles as new capabilities emerge to message consumers based on their locations and proximity to retailers. But interrupting consumers on their personal phones should be treated with great caution; there is a very fine limit to how often this will be acceptable.
4. Retargeting: Remember searching for that new pair of jeans a month ago? Of course you do, but that doesn’t mean you want to be reminded of it on every website banner ad that you visit in the future.
5. Spying: Not a nice phrase, but data used without explicit permission is increasingly worrying consumers and “spooking them out.”
For the digital transition to deliver all that it promises, a new contract of trust, permissions, and preferences will need to be developed between companies and consumers. With a focus on supporting personalized relationships between customers and brands, loyalty industry leaders are well-placed to lead the broader marketing industry.
As the digital transition gathers speed, there is potential for a golden age of marketing where understanding consumers is easier, and conversations with them are increasingly relevant.
Get it wrong, and you may find you’ve been deleted or, worse, forever marked as spam.