Marketers today have an array of choices when looking at how best to connect with consumers. Predominately, the opportunities that lie within the rapidly growing digital marketing space, from blogs, Facebook, email, Twitter to SMS – make the digital offering an accessible, affordable and attractive proposition. In fact, recent reports from eMarketer have predicted that this year digital marketing budgets will reach $39.5 billion in the US, a figure higher than that predicted for more traditional marketing channels (forecasted at $33.8 billion).
However, as the levels of investment in this space rise, so do the numbers of promotional messages reaching consumers across all of these channels. The massive inflation of global advertising impressions over any digital device – up from 172 billion in 1996 to over 5 trillion today – have decimated click through rates from an average of 7% in 1996 to less than 0.1% today. Consumers seem to be reaching a point of saturation.
We recently conducted some research with YouGov, looking at consumer attitudes to digital advertising, and one of the definitive conclusions we can draw from the research is that consumers feel digitally bombarded in relation to marketing communications, with two-thirds of consumers already claiming they are exposed to too many adverts or promotions. This figure is only likely to increase, given both the multiple channels and devices leveraged by advertisers and a new breed of mobile consumer. Perhaps more significantly, the research also highlighted that most consumers, 67 per cent of consumers in the US and 64 per cent in the UK, say they are turned off by unwanted advertising on their mobile phone –indicating that they have different tolerance levels on different devices.
In spite of this, the likelihood of marketers dismissing lucrative new channels is both unlikely and unnecessary, but they do need to take caution. Knowing how to market over these mediums is necessary – rather than applying a ‘one-size fits all’ policy to engagements – where quantity is valued over quality. As consumers become less tolerant when they are recipients of irrelevant messages, marketers should embark on a quest for effectiveness if they are to successfully engage consumers over the multitude of channels, moving away from the volume game to address the wider issue of marketing bombardment.
For marketers, much more attention need to be paid to the very content of the message, ensuring that compelling and persuasive promotions are created and ensuring communications are both relevant and time-sensitive. Although it’s a tough balancing act, while consumer information should be respected, generic messages which are not necessarily relevant to the consumer should also be avoided. Rather, persuasive short, text-based communications have been revealed to be more effective at eliciting positive responses.
A final important note to consider is that while the digital marketing space continues to boom, consumers are actually becoming more device-neutral. With people seamlessly interchanging between different channels and devices, specialised device marketers will find themselves needing address this shift in behaviour. Given this convergence between different devices, marketers who remain entrenched in one space alone, will most likely become obsolete. Therefore, the true challenge for the CMO is to develop marketing strategies that will effectively drive click through and consumer purchase rates across all channels, while simultaneously managing not to bombard consumers.