Marcom Fatigue: Should Marketers Worry?


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Our profession is beginning to see signs of marcom fatigue. Consider the multitude of marketing channels a target prospect in the high tech industry faces each day: email, social media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter), corporate (Yammer, Jive, Chatter, Sharepoint), professional (LinkedIn), advertising (Adwords), blogs and phone calls. We may have hit a marketing plateau due to the overload. It doesn’t matter if all these communications were targeted carefully and accurately – humans don’t have the capacity to absorb and retain such volumes of information on a daily basis. It’s simply too much, too fast.

The decreasing conversion rates of email campaigns are examples of hard truths we avoid mentioning in polite company.

If a manager or executive has an executive assistant or secretary to screen and filter the onslaught, the target recipient will likely never see or hear it. It’s not a surprise that we now have an industry body to address these concerns: the Information Overload Research Group. They sponsored the Overloaded 2012 event in San Francisco earlier this year.

Craig Roth of Gartner discussed this issue from a different perspective in a blog post entitled Information Overload is Not Just Filter Failure. He asserts, correctly, that we should be just as worried about information “out there” that you NEED to know, but aren’t aware of. That content might be on a web site somewhere, or it might be in unread e-mails that you blocked or deleted today – along with several dozen other messages seeking attention. There is no obvious solution, but Roth feels future approaches will likely consist of faceted search, alerts, notifications and agents. But we wonder if a future solution based on these concepts might itself turn into the same problem due to excessive amounts of “help” to find what you need to know, when you need it.

It’s a very thought-provoking topic because this is fundamentally about human psychology and our capacity to process and absorb information. We’re clearly approaching certain limits; and those limitations might require serious reconsideration of some traditional marketing paradigms.

But back to today’s reality: Marketers need to acknowledge that a problem exists and take it seriously. We think some marketers are not working hard enough to develop creative ways of connecting with prospects and customers. Email campaigns with little or no personalization have become the default path of least resistance. What these folks fail to recognize is that prospects and customers are more demanding and have higher expectations than in the recent past. They want to be recognized as individuals and to be acknowledged for their unique lifestyles, wants and needs. It’s also critical to look at the entire spectrum of potential interactions with people – not just the thousands of emails one can deliver by pressing a “Send” button.

We think marketers need to consider the following tactics to combat marcom fatigue:

  • Segment by the intensity of prospect or customer engagement. Behavior should drive types and frequency of communications, especially when responding to a “touch” from an individual.
  • Set up scoring alerts based on an algorithm to detect prospect fatigue or disengagement. This can also be useful for existing customers.
  • Maintain a comprehensive prospect/customer profile that tracks interactions across all marketing channels and touch points. Use the profile to prevent duplication of marketing messages, content, etc. across the usual mechanisms (email, social media, etc.).
  • Implement stringent content quality controls. Make sure you are sending content that is relevant, interesting and precise.

Marcom fatigue is a major fear for marketing executives who are under tremendous pressure to deliver more value from their investments. The easy way out (e.g., mass emails) is no longer sufficient for facilitating interactions and building relationships. Marketers must put more effort into creating unique campaigns with personalized communications that are relevant and cross multiple channels. Content, frequency and channels must be tuned for each prospect’s circumstances while maintaining overall coherence.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shreesha Ramdas
Shreesha Ramdas is SVP and GM at Medallia. Previously he was CEO and Co-founder of Strikedeck. Prior to Strikedeck, Shreesha was GM of the Marketing Cloud at CallidusCloud, Co-founder at LeadFormix (acquired by CallidusCloud) & OuterJoin, and GM at Yodlee. Shreesha has led teams in sales and marketing at Catalytic Software, MW2 Consulting, and Tata. Shreesha also advises startups on marketing and growth hacking.


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