Part 1: On Clutter and Problems Facing Marketers

The above picture depicts a place many people choose to vacation- a decision that requires a lot of money, time (to search and take away from work), and effort to arrive at. During their search for a good deal, a given person may come into contact with thousands of marketing materials and efforts that pursue their clicks and dollars with an algorithmic voracity imperceptible to the would-be vacationer. And the searcher tries quite hard to ignore them or hold on to their apprehension.

Who can blame them? Their eyes have been trained to brush past banner ads and anything on Google’s search page that says “Ad” in front of it. And if the would-be vacationer is really savvy they already have AdBlock and clear their browser’s cookies on a regular basis.

Placing ads and sending out spam will definitely get any message where it needs to go. However, getting someone to pay attention , to listen, and to act is where marketers must work to improve their messages- especially online. The struggle for a public’s mindshare (and dollars) introduces many challenges to the modern marketer: AdBlock software, lower television viewership, and overall clutter create hurdles that must be overcome on a regular basis. Advertisements trip over themselves in their pursuit of being seen- slogans and taglines breathlessly repeating themselves before someone changes the channel or clicks “skip ad”. These gasps for attention rarely affect people on a deep, complex level, but they have some essence of value in regards to acting as buzzing reminders that we shut-off almost as fast as we shut-off our wake-up alarms in the morning.

Speaking of time, an individual’s time is another resource marketers are in a free-for-all competition for. On top of firms in the same industry, marketers must compete against all entities taking up a person’s time. This means marketers compete against the important parts of life such as friends, family, and work (for some). And the more time a marketer tries to get from someone the more critical (and sometimes costly) the potential customer becomes as their personal time is invaded.

This issue gets exacerbated when the messages interrupting us appear to have little value to us on a personal level or are just not at all relevant to your current needs or wants. In an online context, marketers are able to send their messages to people whose online behavior or search history indicates an interest in a given firm’s offerings. However, AdBlock and active cookie deletion makes this style of targeting less effective than it sounds on paper.

So, with all those factors stacked against marketers and the messages they so dearly wish to spread- what can marketers do to be more effective? Well they can keep doing what they are doing and adapt their strategy in relation to how purchase behaviors change and chasing after the largest volumes of eyes (which isn’t entirely terrible- this just may not work for everyone). Or they can try a different approach, something called “permission marketing”, which will be elaborated on in Part 2 of my blog.

To see just how far North Americans go to block and avoid online tracking visit: http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/09/05/anonymity-privacy-and-security-online/

And, to learn more about how marketing is changing in conjunction with consumer behavior and new technology visit: http://mediaplant.net/Content/reports/Dollars,%20Bits,%20and%20Atoms%20A%20Roadmap%20to%20the%20Future%20of%20Marketing.pdf

 

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