As people increasingly tune out the most common forms of advertising, savvy marketers are turning to four surprisingly affordable strategies.
It’s getting harder for marketers to reach a broad audience. People are increasingly tired of what they see as an unending stream of advertising that is unconnected to their lives or interests. In one recent survey, for example, two-thirds of the respondents said they felt constantly bombarded by ads, and more than half said the ads they saw had little or no relevance to their lives.1 Fed up with this meaningless glut of messages, consumers are using technology to fight back. Some television viewers are using digital video recorders and on-demand technologies to fast-forward through advertisements or to skip them altogether. Others are using their personal mobile devices to download commercial-free versions of popular shows. These technological advances are rocking the industry: In a recent survey of the members of the Association of National Advertisers, 70% responded that these advances will ultimately lead to the downfall of 30-second television ads.2 And television is not the only medium affected. Internet users are taking advantage of new software to block spam and pop-up ads. Telemarketers are having a harder time getting through as people use answering machines, caller ID and the “Do Not Call” registry to avoid unsolicited interruptions at home. And consumers are hungry for more: In an Accenture Ltd. survey, more than 60% of respondents said they looked forward to new technologies that would block advertising, while only about 10% were not looking forward to those technologies.3 What’s the solution? For several years, marketers have been urged to embrace one-to-one marketing and to offer micro-segmented consumers customized products and services through targeted outreach. While the “market of one” approach can pay off, it requires a significant upfront investment, including: implementing customer relationship management software applications; filtering, enhancing and cleaning customer data; and personalizing interactions (e-mail, billing, offers and so on). These activities take time and coordination of multiple parts of the organization (marketing, customer service, sales, information technology), which, for companies that are trying to be highly reactive to a changing environment, can be daunting. In addition, those activities have often produced disappointing results because their use was not well integrated with corporate strategy.4 A micro-marketing strategy, on its own, is too narrow.