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CONSUMERS LOVE MARKETING: DONE WELL, THEY DON’T EVEN SEE IT

November 2, 2012

Marketers’ relationship with consumers is fragile. But delightful surprises are possible.
Box Fragile by Charles Plaisted


A recent study by Adobe concludes that digital marketing is not meeting the needs of consumers. Online banner ads do not work. No one wants ads in social media or apps. Online ads are annoying and distracting.
If you are a marketer, the study might make you feel kind of bad.
But I think it should make marketers feel great. I think it verifies what most of us in marketing believe and act on: those who consume digital marketing rely on it and even love it.
No, consumers did not say that. But it is certainly what their actions say. When consumers are annoyed by ads, they call it marketing. When marketing pleases them, they call it great customer service, great product, great brand.
Consumers LOVE the way Netflix helps them find the next movie to watch. What great customer service! Nope, what great marketing. Netflix recommends movies that you’ll love, movies your friends like, movies you love that you might love to see again. One idea – recommendations—repackaged many ways. That’s marketing.
Consumers LOVED the chance to design their own Mini Cooper. What a great product! Nope, what great marketing. There is nothing new about choosing the colors and trim for your new car. Marketing found a way to make it really fun.
Consumers HATE the in-your-face screaming that is banner advertising. This is what they call marketing and advertising. This is the tactic that deflects them from the business at hand. Banner ads would seem to be the online equivalent of TV ads. But we’re accustomed to interruptions to our TV shows, and besides, they give us chance to hit the john, get some ice cream, or check Facebook. We’re in play mode. Clicking through web sites, we’re more in a goal mode. If screaming is your only marketing tactic, you should look at Adobe’s study and feel bad. You are alienating customers.
But if you are personalizing your messages and adapting them to customer’s contexts, you are engaging customers in a way they have a chance to LOVE. And you have a chance to get whatever it is you want from them.
It’s ok to feel regretful that the better you do your job, the more invisible you are to consumers.

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