If I Hear the Word Digital one More Time, I’m going to Stick a Fork in my Head

Opting Out – The Rise of Ad Blocking and Unsubscribing

In the June issue of Canadian Business magazine, Bruce Philp, a brand strategy consultant was speaking to his audience of marketers where he blurted out “If I hear the word digital one more time, I’m going to stick a fork in my head.

Philp said he was shocked by the sudden ovation he received by the audience. He’d stumbled onto something without realizing how strongly people felt about it.

Opting Out of Dumming. Pic courtesy of Jantoo Cartoons

His statement resonates with a rising contempt, cynicism and irritation from consumers about digital marketing and how most agencies are doing digital these days.  And when response rates die and audiences avoid marketing and advertising, you have the start of a key marketing trend.

If you’ve been hunting for a digital marketing job, you’ve witnessed how employers and agencies emphasize the tools of digital marketing and the automation of consistent messaging.

Philp says this is a bad trend. Customers see these same digital tools as weapons of annoyance.  Agencies caught up in this tech-romance are losing site of pleasant, asynchronous, human, real value exchange which has little to do with automated marketing and ads.

Big Trend #1: customers are ignoring messaging and the brands associated with it, and marketers are pushing harder.

email and Ad Bombardment will Change the Market

And you can relate to how many emails and messages you get daily and how many times you have to hit the delete or unsubscribe button, which is no easy task on a small smartphone. Yes, it seems there is a problem and it’s more than just using the word digital.

Marketers are pushing out more content, more emails, more ads, and more rhetoric than ever, and audiences are getting burned out. Marketers themselves explain the trend by saying campaigns and messaging isn’t relevant enough. The truth is that they’re besieged by too many mediocre messages.

Customers and prospects do need your solution, only they’re just confused and mesmerized by the plague of ads, messages and poor value propositions that bombard them every day. You’ve rewritten your marketing material many times and yet your response rates keep plunging along with conversion rates. The joy that people are adopting ad blocking software with should clarify the issue.

Philp remarks that digital marketing is suffering the same plight as traditional marketing. He believes the job of marketing is the same as it was then, even though the medium is different – to reach customers and convince them. In the past though, people were never bombarded the way we are now.

From transit ads and retail signs, road ads, to email, television to our favorite websites, the volume of marketing information we receive is debilitating. People will react by ignoring it. If you don’t believe me, send an email to your contacts or via your Linkedin account. The response rate is so low, it’s frightening. Quality is becoming irrelevant because they automatically ignore the message.

Image courtesy of SoulofAmerica.com

Instead marketers just get louder: [queue Marching Garbage Cans]

So even relevance, value and entertainment aren’t paying off now. That’s why the noise is ramping up to “Warp drive” and perhaps we as marketers have to be more strategic, empathetic, and reasonable in how we approach our markets.

Hammering away with automated high velocity just because we’ve got a team of social media experts and bloggers to pump out material, doesn’t mean we should use them. If each message kills subscribers, our activity begins to erode our customer base. That’s not a good tradeoff.

Big Trend#2: Only the very highest quality content is published. Your brand is your content quality and the relevance of your value offer

So What’s the Solution?

Some marketers are heading back to traditional media, phone calls, and knocking on doors. Yet, if your audience is in San Diego, Miami or Phoenix, that’s gonna be a long trip.

One of the reasons why digital marketing agencies are doing well is by using the “we do it all” messaging. It takes searching, thinking, deciding and time wasting out of the equation. Customers don’t even care if they’ve got the best value proposition and amateur level marketeers — now the whole mess is cleared out of the way. The agencies are simply in the right place at the right time — a place of stillness for clients.

But once clients realize they’re not getting good value, the search process starts all over again.

Philp’s suggestion is that “we all get back to work that really matters.”

That leads us to our solution. The solution is creating higher quality, personalized and more relevant content — videos, white papers, blogs, infographics, webinars and face to face meetings where real value is delivered in a quiet, low pressure, and value-building way. The high quality of your marketing content creates credibility for a warm lead whom you can then follow up with in a relaxed and helpful way. Need warm leads for home loan or car insurance shoppers? Google is the way.

Be prepared to be helpful. Find the customer’s worst pains and lead the charge to erase their fears, insecurities and discomfort. Show them quickly how you’re the missing piece and how you can make their dreams come true.

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