Remember the first time you got a Groupon offer and couldn’t wait to claim it?
Remember back in the 1990′s when you first recieved an offer to buy something via email?
Remember the first time you saw ads on Google or Facebook over on the right side of your screen?
How many of you watch your favorite shows recorded on TiVo so you can fast forward through the commercials?
Did you ever have a Yahoo! email account? If you did I bet you haven’t signed lately in because of the continual spamming of your IN box.
The click through rate (CTR) on banner ads back in the mid 1990′s was between 50-75%. Now the click through rate on banner ads is less than 1%. Based on the Epsilon Email Trend and Benchmark Report, the average open rate for email campaigns is 22.2% and the average click-through rate is 5.9%, almost half of what it was in 1995.
Twitter advertising considers a 1-3% engagement rate on promoted tweets to be a success. Direct mail marketers also feel a 1-3% response rate is a success. I’m no math wiz but to me a 1-3% response rate sounds lousy. Wouldn’t you rather have a 70% or 80% response to your marketing efforts?
Now we see the Groupon or LivingSocial offer in our IN box and we delete it before opening it. We tune out the ads on the right side of the screen on Facebook and Google. We get all sorts of marketing emails first thing in the morning because marketers have seen studies that suggest people check their emails first thing in the morning. The problem is everyone has seen those reports, and we’re filling email IN boxes at the same time with marketing bullshit.
The proverbial “they” are getting tired of being marketed to. Consumers have pretty much seen it all. There are very few new ideas in the marketing world, so marketers latch on to anything mildly successful and replicate it. Marketers take something good like a clean swimming pool on a summer day and pee in it but it’s not their fault.
So how can businesses market and sell their stuff? After all, that is what makes Capitalism work. In America we have a green light to sell as much as we can and make as much money as we want. The things holding us back from that are competition and ourselves. We’re afraid to trust our gut and try new ideas.
The answer is not going to be what business owners want to hear. The answer is to care. Care about each individual person who touches your brand online. It takes time — lots of time. More time than business owners want to pay for. They want a current employee to “check the tweets and Facebook” after their other tasks are done. It’s an oh-by-the-way after thought. Failure is already taking shape. Business owners don’t want to invest in a team of employees who can proactively manage the online community. They might have one person handling things. Business owner approach social media on the cheaps because they want to pay for their vacation home in Hawaii or get their kids into the best school. So their brand marketers have to take short cuts, which is what leads to peeing in the pool
At this moment in history all businesses and marketers have a rare opportunity, this window will only be open for a short time. Twitter and Facebook were clean swimming pools in 2009 and 2010. But marketers started to catch on and eventually polluted the pool with contests and gimmicks to fluff their follower numbers. Before marketers can ruin it there’s a gap in the timeline that precedes mass adoption. How do we get people’s attention to hear our marketing message? Soon we’ll run out of new social networks to infiltrate which means we’ll run out of opportunities to have “clarity of message” like we now have on Google+.
Social sites are going to keep evolving. SEO experts who gamed the system to get first page rankings are now finding the game has changed. All the sites we’re on will keep iterating but the thing that can stay constant is a solid, dedicated team of community care providers will provide consistency. No matter what we throw at consumers, they’ll quickly learn to tune it out. The one thing people respond to is to be loved or cared about. The social tools make it possible to do that. They just want you to commit to them.