One of the more interesting legends from marketing lore is that Procter & Gamble, makers of Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Vicks, and Tide products, posted their best results in five years despite slashing their advertising budget. The implications here are numerous, but not all of them make sense. After all, lack of product awareness rarely results in increased consumer activity.
So, what gives? Research from the Advertising Research Foundation suggested that customers have a capacity to consume 40 adverts from the same company a month before sales decline. While that might seem like an obscene amount of content for one person to consume, the average person sees more than 5,000 adverts per day. We just only remember the intrusive and especially interesting ones.
The problem for marketers is that a customer’s receptiveness to advertising is highly situational. In general, people aren’t interested in seeing material from companies they don’t shop with, hence why audience research is such a valuable part of every executive’s skill set. Then, at the other end of the scale, weekly or even daily interactions with customers are a normal thing to do.
Social media made the latter a reality, but any industry that relies on short, regular visits, such as betting, mobile gaming, and even sports, market to their existing audiences daily. A good example of this is in the many efforts that free-to-play games make to get their users to spend money, whether that’s supplies in Pokemon Go, cards in Hearthstone, or a season pass in Call of Duty: Mobile.
The gaming brand Buzz Bingo makes use of daily promotions, too, including a free prize from 12pm each day. These bingo offers usually take the form of free spins on a slot like Age of the Gods: Wheels of Olympus, but they’re refreshed regularly so that they don’t become too repetitive. That is the key to marketing at such high frequency – making sure content remains relevant to players.
Of course, all adverts contribute to consumers’ tolerance of marketing efforts, which means that even companies that rely on word-of-mouth promotion can seem obnoxious through no fault of their own. Customers appreciate value and respect for their time, which often means that the best advertising isn’t advertising at all. Almost three-quarters of people learn about products from third-party articles.
The onus is on advertisers to meet potential clients on their own terms, rather than beaming it into their heads like a Futurama episode brought to life. This means occupying the same spaces, time frames, and events as their audience. Once again, knowing your customer is key to marketing and one of the easiest ways to reduce campaign costs.
While there’s evidently no perfect way to communicate with all customers at once, there are plenty of pitfalls that can undermine your sales efforts. Let’s not forget that PR disasters, while humiliating for a company, are often compiled as entertainment for consumers at the end of each year. That kind of negative attention is difficult to come back from.
Overall, marketing is an ever-changing thing that strengthens with technology and the people it claims as targets.