The modern marketing conundrum

2014-04-03 07:29

You’d think with the explosion of digital media over the past few years that it would be easier than ever before to reach people with marketing, news and information that is relevant to their businesses and lives.

Yet somehow, it seems to have become more difficult to get people to notice and engage with brands… and if you’re on the receiving end of responses, you’ll know that many potential viewers and customers in fact react with outright hostility to the communications they receive.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to work in the digital marketing space, one of the many things that will surprise you on an ongoing basis is the kind of responses you receive from the people who engage with your brands.

From the personalised thank yous in reply to a mail merged mass emailer, to the three page opinion piece on the product, service or event you’re marketing, to what I like to call the marketing trolls; you know, those people who feel the need to send you a message telling you to F*%^ OFF in size 400, bright red text, often accompanied by a threat of legal action… there is just no end to the kinds of direct responses that you get in digital media.

A whole new lifestyle

If you’ve been breathing the last few years, you’ll probably know that everything in the world has changed as a result of the Internet.

The way we find information is different, what we do in our spare time is different, even the way we watch television has changed.

We don’t really buy magazines anymore, many of us choose not to listen to the radio and watching television is now about movies, DVDs and fast-forwarding through the adverts.

This obviously makes it very difficult for marketers to reach people with information about new and even existing brands.

A whole new world

Welcome to the world of the Internet and digital marketing.

Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of disciplines, but largely can be broken down into email marketing, web banners, content marketing and social media marketing.

People can be found there, they’re engaging with these media, so surely this is the place to reach them? Except actually it’s not!

Send someone a piece of email marketing that they’re not interested in, or on a day that they’re having a bad hair day, and you’re reported to the CPA Commission and the DMA and you can have your right to use your email-marketing database revoked.

Web banners and the amount of marketing space used up on websites is a constant complaint you hear from people who regularly surf the web.

Put out a post on social media and some troll is going to come along and lambaste you and your brand for invading their personal space.

The worst I’ve ever seen here was someone who posted that a new company had cheated them out of money and that nobody should ever do business with that company. The company had JUST launched.

Put content up around the web and the naysayers and trolls will get all up in your face, knocking your opinions, knowledge and even outright lying about you and your brands.

Worse still, people will read the content and then not make any follow-through to visit the original website or find out more information, because we’ve made people used to having everything spoon-fed to them for free.

On the flipside…

This is where the conundrum arises, because very often the same trolls and naysayers and people who have been lambasting your efforts to get your info out there are the people who are complaining that they don’t ever know about the new products and events that are happening.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen companies that have blocked mass emailing domains on their servers approach those very same companies to do email marketing for them. Doesn’t that seem hypocritical to you?

You’ll find the people that email and complain about company-related social media posts all of a sudden creating pages and posting about the new business that they or a friend have launched.

And they’ll mass mail everyone on their friends’ list every day for five or six days running, inviting them to like the page over and over and over again.

You’ll get angry, nasty emails from people who unsubscribed from a database complaining that they never knew a specific event was happening or they aren’t receiving their favourite company’s email newsletter anymore.

I mean, how dare you not inform them of the information that they want to know?

It’s time to rethink… and in fact, grow up

Media and communications are exactly about that – communicating information to people about people, events, products and services that can benefit them or their businesses.

If you’ve added yourself to the Do Not Contact Me list, then everyone with a marketing database has to check their list against the DMA list and remove you – even if you’ve subscribed.

So you won’t get the smsses and emails from legitimate companies who are actually sending legitimate offers… but you will still get the smsses and emails from dodgy list providers who are selling lists of data on the cheap to people who are desperate to create marketing movement.

You will also still get the Viagra, Canadian Pharmacy and porn stuff, because those people aren’t cleaning and checking their lists – and in many cases those companies are overseas and outside the reach of the DMA’s jurisdiction.

Unsubscribe from a company’s social media page and you won’t know about the free event they’re hosting or the special discount that they’re offering, or even the great competition you could have won for that much needed holiday you and your partner have been desperately longing for.

As for web banners, well companies and websites have to stay in business too.

Producing content for a website that you use for free still costs money. It costs money every time you use the bandwidth to visit the website too. Not to mention hosting costs, development knowledge and skill, artwork creation… and then the website is still not pretty or neat enough for you?

For the sites that do go without banner advertising, they can still land up totally in the wrong too, because that one toolbar extension you downloaded one day acts almost like a virus and intercepts the page code while it is downloading, inserting banner ads into the page, often filling your website with pornographic and inappropriate adverts and images that make you throw up a little when you see them.

You can’t have it both ways anymore

We’ve reached the point where you have to pick now.

Either you want the economy and your business to work, get the coverage and clients it needs to keep your doors open, or you want to cease all communication and interaction with the outside world, curl up into a ball and die.

We need marketing, our businesses need marketing and every single one of us that has a job or a partner with a job needs that company to reach new and existing clients on an ongoing basis in order for our jobs and economy to exist.

We need to start loving our marketing again and supporting the people who are out there in the arena fighting, bloodstained and battle-scarred, because if our businesses don’t have anywhere to market, we may as well all just give in and blow up the planet now.

We’ll only recover from this economic crisis with businesses that are thriving and collecting the money they need in order to survive.

And it’s the only way we’re going to be able create the much-needed jobs we’re so desperate for too.

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AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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