In my last column, "The Digital All-You-Can-Eat Buffet," we explored the necessity of discipline in narrowing your digital tactics to those that you can afford and support. We may long to incorporate every device, channel, and targeting program available to us now in our expanded opportunity set, but it's rare that we have the required budget available or can pull off such a fractured approach successfully. There is another kind of companion discipline that marketers have to exercise and that's in moderating their consumer touch points so that targeted audience segments are not uncomfortably or unproductively bombarded with messaging at all points in their digital day.
Without citing a million studies, let's start with the premise that consumers are spending more of their day connected. They use multiple devices and are more reliant on them, have more usage occasions as tools and apps have become more relevant to more daily activities, and share more information over time as they trade some personal or contact information in exchange for the functionality or content they desire. Consumers use multiple screens at once, have new social patterns of interaction online, and generally consume more content online with each passing day. All of the trends are up and the impact for both consumers and marketers is a growing set of opportunities to reach and influence consumers online.
The trick for marketers is to moderate those touch points so that the consumer continues to have a comfortable online experience that also motivates desired actions at a rate that justifies the marketing spend that supports the ecosystem. Picture a ledge balanced on a razor-sharp point. On the one side, you have happy digital consumers weighed down with some ad exposures and information sharing. On the other side, you have marketers stacking up their conversions and spend. It's far too easy to tip that precarious balance, and once you find just the right balance, it's gone in an instant as new circumstances or sensitivities rock your consumers and your carefully constructed plan.
We need a few rules if we are to achieve a productive, lasting balance.
Consumers are reacting to the sometimes overwhelming volume of messaging online and both overly aggressive online marketers as well as careful marketers are sharing the pain of the consumer response. Truly, customer-centric marketing places a priority on protecting the customer experience online. This is not only the responsible way to market, but the smart way that maximizes the impact of your efforts and builds toward long-term success.
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Robin is the CEO and cofounder of NetPlus Marketing Inc., a top 50 interactive agency established in 1996 to focus exclusively on online marketing and advertising best practices. Robin brings innovative strategy and a depth and breadth of marketing experience to the agency's practice and management. As one of the industry's pioneers, she is a driving force behind NetPlus Marketing's ongoing success with a diverse and discerning client base that considers online results critical to their business success.
Robin is a frequent speaker at national industry events, including ClickZ, internet.com, OMMA, Ad:Tech, SES, Online Marketing Summit, and Thunder Lizard conferences and is a sought-after resource for industry and business publications for her insight and advice on such topics as digital strategy, social media marketing, and behavioral targeting.