Customers have registered their objection to receiving intrusive phone ads with the "do not call" registry, learned to avoid TV ads with TiVo and VCR's, buy software to block drop-down ads. But we still send them unwanted direct mail, spend millions on print, TV and other advertising that intrudes where it may not be wanted. Is this a waste of resources and a disregard of the privacy of consumers?
As a consumer, I am offended by the numerous promotional text messages I receive. So infuriated by them that sometimes I end up boy-cotting the said establishment, simply because I feel that it is phone text marketing is a cheap, impersonal and annoying touch point. So I make it a point to tell my favourite restaurant to leave me out of the text notifications. However as a marketer, I understand that not everyone shares this sentiment of mine - there are some who pooh-pooh my folk as being conservative and out of touch with technology. Regardless, I do not use it as a means of marketing in our business as I feel it is an intrusion of people's privacy.
With regards to direct mailers and print/TV/radio advertising: this is an inescapable form of getting the message out there. Done distastefully with very little creativity, its just rubbish being showed in your mailbox or a contaminant to your senses. But presented with a fresh perspective, a postcard can become a form of communication between you and your customer, and may even be passed on to another potential customer (at least that is how it worked out for us!). At the end of the working week, perhaps it boils down to two things: how much dosh have you got to burn, and how much creativity have you got to expend? Best of luck.
If only all direct mail was brief and creative and well-targeted, it wouldn't be so wasteful.
Back in my marketing days (before the Internet existed), we did a direct mail campaign to a small group of target potential customers: three mailings to communicate three themes. One was speed of delivery. The ad company came up with a fake express mailer. I vetoed it. In the end, we sent a blue baseball cap with silver wings that had "Think Fast!" and our brand name stenciled on the front. They were very popular. But how much of the direct mail that you get in your mailbox amuses you?
Scott's point in New Rules of Marketing and PR is that even though companies could get far more sales for less money without direct mail and other intrusive forms of advertising (this is his opinion--in my opinion, the ideal marketing strategy depends on the company), companies are afraid to switch from traditional intrusive marketing to Internet marketing for fear that they'll be blamed if their sales sag.
Some companies spend research money to target potential customers and others send direct mail only to people who have requested it. This is good, but a lot of people who hate direct mail still get it. This kind of waste is bad for everyone. The point of market research is to pinpoint the customers who will respond to advertising. So you'd think that businesses would be glad to have everyone who is offended by direct mail disqualify themselves. They are actually wasting lobbying money to get the right to waste money and other resources (trees, oil) sending advertising to people who would be glad to do them the favor of narrowing their target audience.
I got my master's in management from MIT and I never understood why the instructors assumed managers act in a rational manner! Or should I say, when managers do act in a rational manner, they clobber the companies who go with the attitude of "we have resources to burn, so why not?" I see nothing rational about irritating people who are offended by unwanted advertising when a well-constructed website with Internet PR, blogs, etc., could be an effective means of making them willing customers.
Melissa: What do you mean by promotional text messages? Do you mean you get ads on your phone?
Regarding your question, yes ads or even worse - badly spelt texts messages - sent to my personal phone. I believe you may have taken my context of "how much dosh to burn" as "how much have we got to waste?" which is not what I had meant. Having helped a number of small companies re-strategise their marketing on ridiculously small budgets (we're talking arguing a buy-in for simple things such as a professionally done company portfolio) I emphatise with marketers who have very little resources and budgets but CEOs with huge expectations.
And this is an environment where people were still on Windows NT or had no computers (not an era too long ago, but due to geographical and economical reasons computers were not the most popular things yet)
It is unfortunate that alot of the direct mailers received are rather dry and unimaginative, which makes the internet such an affordable and effective marketing tool (again, when used imaginatively...as you have indicated earlier, there are pop up blockers, firewalls and spam filters to help with the clutter). However, I'm sure as a Master's degree holder you will agree that one needs to begin with one touch point: be it print or digital media. I'm not sure if there is a fool- proof manner to avoid from annoying people, even with the best intentions and strategies in place. But touch points should be varied enough so as not to become stale, print media that may be wasteful can be made using recycable/recycled paper (as we once did). Regards, M
Melissa, Thanks! I've been out of the business world for a long time and the Internet hadn't been born yet when I left, so I'm interested in other people's views. My kids are in the website business and I've been consulting for them, but feeling like a bit of a dinosaur. We're beginning to work out where I'm helpful and where I'm not! Sheryl