When your marketing crosses a certain threshold it no more remains marketing. It becomes a headache to your customers. That’s marketing fatigue in a nutshell.
The above snippet from the article by one Jessica Miller-Merrell in her blog summarises the communication fatigue that every wifi-connected soul is a victim of. The volume of marketing communication has anyway surpassed our attention zone whose size anyway would make us envious of goldfish.
Marketing fatigue explained by Marginal Utility law
The Law of diminishing marginal utility tells us that anything surplus, regardless of its utility loses its value. Do you recall water/diamond paradox?
So when customers are over-bombarded with marketing communication, no matter how useful your messaging may be, just as water it’s value is going to degrade. And users are going to respond by lower CTR, unsubscribes, opt-out etc.
How to address marketing fatigue
Having discussed the ‘why’ of marketing fatigue let’s now focus on ‘how to address’ part of it. There are three pointers that we have to consider to address marketing fatigue:
While frequency seems to be the primal and sometimes the only cause of marketing fatigue it is apparently not. A research published in the Journal of Advertising (US) analyzed the email marketing behavior of nearly 15,000 users and concluded that the frequency of email can be increased if your messaging is relevant to the user.
Frequency is one of the problems indeed but not the only one. However, to address frequency overload following are some of the must tweaks that you should make in your engagement engine.
‘Frequency capping’ is the term that you would have mostly heard in the context of digital advertising like Google ads, facebook ads wherein, with frequency capping, you limit the number of times a user is exposed to a particular advertisement.
When applied in engagement engines it works the same way except that the ads are translated to messages and platforms (google, facebook, bing) translate to messaging channels.
Frequency capping could be applied across all messaging channels or individually for each one.
Pass the frequency mandate to the customers
Transferring the onus of deciding the frequency to the user is the safest yet effective way to get the frequency right.
Following are few tips on how you could employ that across all channels:
[Email] Constantly record preferences of the user
Marketers assume that getting the opt-in licenses them to run their promotions invariably and indefinitely on users. However, the reality is that preference of user keeps evolving influenced by several factors.
So, it is imperative that you sync with the evolving preference of users. How? By creating a preference center.
Be sure to check out this awesome article from Sendgrid- Why You Need an Email Preference Center
[Mobile Push notification] Create preference centre for the user like Pinterest does
Let the users be the gatekeeper for your push messages.
OSes seem to have taken cognizance of the push-notification-overload phenomena and working one. Android nougat has already introduced a feature which allows customers to set between which there would be no notification sound. Check out these two threads on Quora and Reddit respectively to understand it better.
[Text] Give opt-out choice in non-transactional message
Text can be most intrusive and irritating to customers if unsolicited. Plus, there is no friendly UI to users to add a filter in texts like they have in email or push. So, voluntary add an opt-out option like the one below
Introduce triggered communication
Triggered communication is driven by engagement. So it ensures that the customers who are not engaging with the brand do not receive your communication automatically, apart from the reactivation campaigns.
Take an instance of Goibibo which added millions to its topline by triggering a contextual, hyper-personalized email when the user exits the site after searching flights but without completing the transaction.
A good copy is a compensation that you can offer to a mind experiencing marketing fatigue.
Now, copywriting is art so there are no rules. But following are some critical adjustments you could make that have shown positive results
Make the content skimmable
An average user in a day receives
Now, our exposure to branded content is only going to increase so the reason to make your content skimmable is more profound than yesterday.
Another benefit of skimmable content is that if a user a gets a message irrelevant to him, the risk of poor UX would be low if the user spends less time comprehending the message.
Choose Hemingway any day over Buzzfeed
Were you able to guess the content that would follow from the header? How about the following push notifications?
When the user finds the final content against his expectation then he is obviously bound to feel annoyed. However, marketers miss the point that inflated open rate is useless without an equally inflated conversion. So, keep your header in sync with the actual content offer. “Choose a Hemingway approach any day over that of Buzzfeed in you header copy”.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“The message is simple: the next step in marketing, if it wants to survive, is all about the user’s context.”- Guardian[/pullquote]
Other than the enormous benefits in conversion the best thing about contextual messaging is that it compensates for the increase in frequency as discussed in #1. B2C businesses are either adopting contextualization in their marketing or pissing off their users. There is no central ground.
However, there are few key links which I see B2C businesses missing that refrains them from achieving contextualization:
Deploy a CDP (Customer Data Platform)
The reason behind siloed engagement with the consumers is that there is no integration of data across devices and channels. Consumer data is scattered across separate engagement tools which are part of the marketing stack.
Naturally, for effective engagement, B2C enterprises need a platform that acts as a central repository of consumer interaction across all devices and channels- email click, number of sessions, app version, last click on push, lead score etc. This is where CDP comes into picture.
I am a genuine fan of segment.com. It has integrations with multitudes of vendors including WebEngage.
Marketing campaigns individually across channels are way too primitive. If you have still not adopted a system of running coordinated messaging across all channels museum guys are looking for you. Invest in a journey orchestration engine and build journey for your users across multiple channels.
This will be the supplement to your customer data platform as it will collect the data and JB will decide how to treat customers across devices and channels. WebEngage would be a decent contender if you are at it.
Segmentation + Personalization
Personalization is a good and consumers are ready to trade personal data for value but without right targeting it is creepy.
Context stops personalisation from becoming creepy- Marketing WeekA workflow example of personalization done right.
Personalization is incredibly useful as well as challenging but without segmentation, it will simply backfire.
Close to 50% of emails circulated globally were labelled as spam as per a 2015 research. Marketing is meant to answer users’ problem not create them. Yet, the above pointers would prove to be meaningless unless you take a principled stand against causing marketing fatigue to your customers.
That’s all. If you have any thoughts, would love to see them in the comments below.