The Reality of Marketing Today
Sending a marketing message isn’t enough for it to be heard. Companies must find a way to cut through the clutter. Unlike in the past, companies can no longer “pay to play,” because you can’t buy consumers’ attention.
Effective marketing communication demands that a message isn’t just sent – but is also heard and understood. The problem: consumers are tired of hearing it. They don’t want to listen to companies. Paying more money to try to force consumers to listen to brand messaging is not going to work. Consumers are going out of their way to actively push advertising messages out.
Examples of consumer aversion to marketing includes, but is not limited to:
- Skipping commercials using a DVR
- Taking out headphones or muting the sound on commercials that interrupt music streaming
- Unsubscribing from promotional emails
- Ignoring in-app mobile ads (half of US smartphone users do this)
- Anything else that effectively shuts out company messaging
The correct response is not counteraction. This is the tactic of many big (and in my opinion, lazy), marketers, who approach the issue by throwing more money toward more aggressive messaging and forms of communication.
When someone doesn’t want to hear from you, the solution is not to yell louder, to force your way into their space, or to sneakily appear everywhere with your message in hopes that omnipresence will convert people to believers.
Why People Are Ignoring Your Messaging
Why do consumers ignore marketing messages?
- They don’t know the brand and what the offering is
- They don’t understand how the product(s) or service(s) work
- They don’t understand the benefits of the brand’s product(s) or service(s)
- The message doesn’t seem to be directed at them
- The message is boring
- They’re busy doing something else
- They’re at work
- They’re with family or friends
- They don’t have time for it
- They’re tired of hearing from your brand
- They’re not in the mood to hear it
- They’re fundamentally opposed to your company’s value offering
The list could go on and on.
The truth is, your company doesn’t have time, energy, or money to waste on messaging that’s directed toward people who don’t want to hear it.
What your company CAN and SHOULD do is focus on the right audience to deliver your message to, and prime them for the message. The right audience means you’re not talking to “anybody and everybody,” because “spray and pray” doesn’t work anymore. Brands need a unique positioning strategy with the intention of targeting people who can benefit from their product(s) or service(s) and fit within a specific criteria. The goal is to get qualified leads, not anybody off the street (unless your product is something like Doritos).
How Do You Earn Your Audience’s Attention?
Build strong brands that earn equity with the target market. When a strong brand is ready to deliver a message, consumers will be willing to hear it.
People are only receptive to messages from people or entities that have earned their attention. Brands must spend time building a brand platform and proving brand value to support future messaging and long-term relationships.
Be human. Build strong relationships by making meaningful connections. Show brand value (don’t tell). Prove brand integrity and give people a reason to believe in the brand.
Today’s businesses have become so massive and engineered for profit that they are forgetting their humanity. It’s not that businesses shouldn’t try to maximize profit and minimize losses; but successful businesses master the balance of profits and humanity in order to be successful.
Companies no longer have the luxury of hitting the masses with messaging before establishing why we should listen to you in the first place. It’s developed through a strong brand platform.
What Contributes to Brand Equity?
Through a cohesive brand platform that aligns with an overall business strategy, brands can build equity by:
- Establishing a strong mission and vision consumers can identify with
- Clearly communicating brand value
- Aligning with and supporting causes that are near and dear to your target market
- Delivering on the brand promise
- Building a strong brand pyramid
- Communicating through a consistent, relatable brand voice
Before you ask consumers to listen to your message, build a strong brand that has earned the right to deliver the message in the first place.