Days of 'Spray and Pray' Marketing Are Done

Too much marketing communication and too little targeting has been behind a sharp uptick in brand damage.
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Article by Ernan Roman
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Too much marketing communication and too little targeting has been behind a sharp uptick in brand damage.

In a recent study on Millennials, the Aimia Institute coined the term "High Volume Sensitive Consumers" for those segments across all generations most likely to permanently disengage with brands if they receive high volumes of generic email communications.

Of this group, Millennials are the generation most likely (44% more likely) to permanently disengage.

"Millennials are the 'always on' generation, but it is a mistake for marketers to make assumptions about their communications preferences. Just because a person shares their details with a brand does not mean they want to be inundated with lots of generic messages," said Martin Hayward, senior vice president, global digital strategy and futures, at Aimia. "Marketers must work harder to listen to individual customer preferences and tailor communications appropriately."

Additional insights from Aimia also reveal that High Volume Sensitive Consumers, across all generations, have the same willingness as others to share their personal data. However, they are 2.3 times more likely to disengage when bombarded with large numbers of irrelevant messages.

High Volume Sensitive Consumers will only engage if the content they receive by email, for example, is tailored to them. If it is not personalized and too frequent, they will:

  1. Block numbers (80%)

  • Close accounts and unsubscribe from email lists (84%)
  • Delete apps because of push notifications (82%)
  • Unfollow brands on social channels (86%)
  • Regardless of which generation you're targeting, it's imperative to understand that cohort's content and media preferences when segmenting your database for marketing communications. Let's take a look at two successful brand examples.

    Malibu Meets Millennials Memorably

    Malibu Rum recently ran a mobile-only video campaign to target 18- to 24-year-old men and women for National Pina Colada Day. The campaign ran solely on video for smartphones with time-specific, location-based feeds in a ticker format for brand interaction.

    The campaign drove more than 8 million views across four months. According to Adam Boita, head of marketing at Pernod Ricard UK, "With pinpointed audience targeting, the campaign successfully cemented mobile as a vital component in making Malibu synonymous with summer for our target audiences."

    Swanson Health Products Connects With Boomers Online

    Many marketers assume that Baby Boomers are not tech savvy and limit digital messaging, but this is wrong because:

    • According to Google, 83% of Boomers use the Internet to find information before any other medium.
    • Forty-nine percent of people over the age of 45 have made a purchase on their smartphones and even more use mobile devices to gather information about a product or company.
    • The number of Boomers using social media has tripled to 43%.

    Swanson understands that firsthand. "We own the Baby Boomer market for vitamins and supplements," said Swanson chief executive officer Ken Harris.

    Approximately 93% of Swanson's new customers are acquired on the Internet, thanks to its Web marketing programs geared to acquire Baby Boomers.

    "Baby Boomer women know how to use the Internet," Harris said. So the company targets its marketing to Baby Boomer women because, it says, they are interested in maintaining heart, joint, and digestive health.

    3 TakeAways

    Consumers' tolerance for "spray and pray" marketing blasts is at an all-time low. Sending quantities of irrelevant messaging is an invitation for key segments of your file to opt out, causing damage to your brand. So keep in mind:

    1. When segmenting your database for marketing communications, be sure you understand the generational segment's content and media preferences. Identify the High Volume Sensitive segment within your customer base, across all generations, and track their expectations and tolerance levels for marketing communications.

  • Understand that too much irrelevant messaging could be the tipping point for those who would rather opt out than wait for marketers to learn their preferences.
  • Consumer's tolerance for "spray and pray" marketing blasts is at an all-time low. Sending quantities of irrelevant messaging is an invitation for key segments of your file to opt out and cause damage to your brand.
  • Ernan Roman
    President, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing Corp., (ERDM)

    Inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame based on results companies achieve with three Customer Experience methodologies he created: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing and Opt-in Marketing.

    ERDM specializes in conducting Voice of Customer research to identify Customer Experience strategies that generate significant increases in response and revenue for clients including IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC, Microsoft and Norton AntiVirus.

    Named by the Online Marketing Institute as one of the "2014 Top 40 Digital Luminaries" and by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".
    Ernan's latest book is titled, "Voice of the Customer Marketing". He also writes the widely read and Huffington Post published blog, "Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices".

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