How Moments of Friction Inspire Brands

Consumers are suffering from a severe form of I.A. — Ignoring Ads. Whilst brands spend over 100 billion on digital marketing, people are intuitively blocking ads from their view and understandably so, as they seek engagement with brands, not a preacher. With digital ads now constant in both private and public spheres, consumers feel overwhelmed, if not exasperated by offers and tempting buys. As digital marketing guru, Jeff Rosenblum states, almost as a defense mechanism, our brains have learned to simply ignore ads crowding our lives and acting as friction to our seamless experience. From a marketing perspective, it’s a shame. With companies spending on average 11% of their budget on advertising, most spent on creative minds working to create the ultimate ad, time and money is wasted trying to entice customers who are simply fed up.

uncomfortable

Personalization can be an answer to this frustration. By focusing on customers’ individual needs, a brand has the power to channel its marketing efforts into a tailor-made, pleasant experience. Looking at their habits, customer journeys, and interests of consumers, marketing can become a valuable addition to someone’s life rather than a nuance. It goes without saying that it’s a valuable asset for a brand, as it can learn more about its consumer, and thus create products, experiences, and communications which feel relevant. After all, modern marketing is a glorified version of data exchange, where brands and consumers continuously interact. Unlike campaign marketing, where information is repeated across different channels, data can reflect a user’s needs and behaviors.

The real question is, how can brands gather all the data they need? A.I, has been a friend to brands in this quest. Artificial intelligence allows for this exchange to happen seamlessly. Yet, as Siegel+Gale’s experience team has found, tech has not been the ally one would expect. In fact, in an effort to be at the forefront of innovation, many companies have been unnaturally forcing their consumers into using this type of technology, rather than implementing it in small, meaningful steps. Of course, one can appreciate when Google predicts your search but not so much when Facebook creepily asks whether one knows the person they met in the cafeteria at lunchtime. In this instance, A.I. actually becomes the enemy, and consumers once again ignore, disassociated and even worth, retaliate.

One answer could be to stop using the word “tracking” as it is just counterproductive and no one wants to feel the constant eye behind their shoulder, in a very-1984 kind of way. Gathering data should feel rewarding for the consumer. Consumers, especially Millennial's and the later generations have gotten smarter and know the value of their data. Brands should acknowledge this power play and reward their consumers for allowing them to be part of their lives, rather than ignoring it the way we all ignore the latest ad on our YouTube binge watch.