Understanding Diminished Response to Brand Marketing

Reasons why your marketing ROI may not be what you expect

Media-Clutter-NoiseMarketing to today’s consumer has become more complex. The communications landscape of today is busier and unlike anything ever before, with information and messages coming from mail, email, telephone, Internet, radio, television, mobile, social, even outdoor communications. Consumers are facing a surge in information that has the potential to, at best, overwhelm and, at worst, alienate. While marketers do calculate their targets, targeting may be too broad or a single consumer may represent the sweet spot for any number of target groups. As a result, that individual walks away unresponsive and feeling as if bombardment really is the name of the game. 

The New Normal
Broad-sweeping financial, economic and even political issues have had impact on the lives of Americans today. There is in effect a new normal, defined as permanent changes in consumer thinking based on the recession and economic challenges. Seeking value as a priority, paying cash for necessities, foregoing credit cards, searching for discounts and putting money in the bank have become the rule rather than the exception. And while the recession may officially be over, some economists say many of these changes in spending habits, initially seen as temporary, have taken hold for the long haul. This economic trend represents a significant opportunity for marketers, going beyond the sole purpose of grabbing someone’s attention, and instead delivering usefulness and value.

Feeding Fragmentation
At the same time consumers are overloaded with marketing messages that may or may not be applicable, marketers are dealing with increasing audience fragmentation. There was a time — a very short time — when a television ad could reach 70 percent of the viewing audience. Nowadays, network television has given way to an army of terrestrial, cable and now digital broadcast options offered by satellite, cable and fiber optics. The Internet changed the world and reaches anyone and everyone. Traditional print media — whether it be newspapers, magazines or direct mail — adds to the list of individual options for viewing information and interacting with commercial messages.  

Social media, email, print, radio and television all play a role in this deluge of information which continues to grow.  Marketers are seeing less favorable returns on their marketing investments and in turn must buy and manage communications strategies over a much greater number of channels.

Consumers in Control
Further, there is a marketing savvy present in today’s consumer that has grown out of this experience. Faced with a barrage of marketing messages and brand choices, it’s easy for consumers to believe that everywhere they look, everywhere they go, someone wants to sell them something. 

That growing media noise has taught consumers a new skill — that is, shutting down messages that are neither of interest nor meant for them specifically. Tuning out non-essential communications is a phenomenon that has dramatically reduced overall response rates,  even in the face of more and more and more communication and outreach from marketers. 

Marketers are determined to be heard over the noise but are ultimately only feeding the problem by buying more ad space and airtime, sending out more direct mailers, making more cold calls, and posting more tweets and Facebook updates. The good news is that consumers don’t inherently hate ads. They just hate bad ads that don’t bring value or otherwise matter to them – those are the messages that drive consumers away feeling alienated and are the type of tactics that skilled marketers need to sidestep.

The challenge for marketers is to understand that brand loyalty is being replaced by the pursuit of straight-up value, and take that concept further and determine new methods and channels for delivering on the consumer’s expectation of brand value and personal relevance. In our downloadable white paper (name and email required), we explore more about this issue and possible ways to improve ROI and motivate consumer action.

What other reasons or events have affected the response to your brand marketing efforts?

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