EDITOR'S CUT

Marketing Message Overload

It’s time to take a walk in the woods, away from crowds, melt within the flora and fauna, breathe. Soon, the joy of nature begins to wash over me. And after a good while, as Henry David Thoreau writes, I’ll return taller than the — damn, my phone’s buzzing again.

Just like that, I’m yanked back into the noisy digital world of spam. It’s where a person living in the rural United States receives 2,500 marketing messages daily. I combat the noise by mindlessly deleting, unsubscribing and blocking. This isn’t the new meditation; it’s madness.

Marketers say they’re on the path to personalization. They claim they’re crafting messages that touch the quick of human emotion. They believe they’re on the way to mastering the art of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.

We all know that’s not happening.

In truth, marketers take a shotgun approach to messaging and customer prospecting. Just look at email marketing, for instance. According to Campaign Monitor, the average open-rate last year landed at 17.8 percent—less than one out of five recipients even opening the email. Worse, the click-through rate averaged at a meager 2.6 percent.

How can 2.6 percent be a benchmark for anything? Something is rotten in the state of marketing.

Tired of being bombarded, huge percentages of our customers simply disengage. Marketers need to refine their focus with smarter outreach campaigns and stop interrupting people with aimless messages.

This issue of Marketing Magnified takes a deep dive into the idea of fruitless messaging and how to stand out:

In our feature article, “Your Fist and the Future of Marketing,” Jonathan Martin describes how the brain shields itself from the daily assault of thousands of marketing messages. In the old days, a few marketers could interrupt people in hopes of getting their attention. Digital marketing, though, made interruption all too easy for the legions of marketers promoting their “stuff.”

“The tools and techniques built on traditional interruption-based marketing methods are simply getting less and less effective with every passing quarter,” Martin writes.

It’s incredibly important for marketers to cease the carpet bombing and take better aim. In our companion article, “Striking Gold,” Latane Conant, CMO of 6sense, likens this to prospecting for gold during the California Gold Rush. Late comers dig and pan in vain on land already panned out.

Predictive analytics, on the other hand, unearths people in market in real-time, Conant says. This gives account executives the best chance in striking a sale: be super selective and dig only in the right places at the right time.

“Like most companies, we traditionally had assigned territories on an annual basis and used tons of data and insights to design those territories,” Conant writes. “Though it was a static list, we found that our ideal customer profile is actually quite dynamic.”

Adopting a targeted approach is the best way to rise above the noise…right?

Then again, marketers will still disrupt someone’s day. The trick? Make the message so relevant that it doesn’t feel like an interruption, or at the very least, the recipient doesn’t mind.

In our Get to Know profile, Jennifer Weissman, CMO of Boston Ballet, shows how to interrupt people the right way. At its core, her job is getting people to the ballet, but that’s just the result of her efforts, not how she leads her messaging. Rekindling our artistic nature, deepening our connection to ballet and encouraging us to become lifelong enthusiasts remains Weissman’s real goal.  

“It’s all about helping people feel closer to the art and having memorable experiences with their friends and family,” Weissman says. “We want to share the fun, social nature of the experience as well as the artistry.”

Not quite a nature walk, but it’s close enough for me.

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