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. Understandably so, as they seek engagement with a brand, not a preacher. With ads now a constant both in private and public spheres, consumers feel overwhelmed, if not even exasperated, by offers and tempting buys. Almost as a defense mechanism, our brains have learned to simply ignore the ads crowding our lives and acting as friction to our seamless experience, as digital marketing guru Jeff Rosenblum states. From a marketing perspective, it’s a shame. With companies spending on average 11% of their budget on advertising, and some of the most creative and intelligent minds constantly working to create the ultimate ad, time and money is wasted trying to entice a customer who is simply fed up.
Personalization can be an answer to this frustration. By focusing on the customer’s individual needs, a brand has the power to channel its marketing efforts into a tailor-made, pleasant experience. Looking at the habits, customer journey, and interests of the consumer, marketing can suddenly become a valuable addition to someone’s life rather than a nuance. It goes without saying that is also a valuable asset for a brand, as it can learn more about its consumer, and thus also 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 exactly 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 this 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. 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 want to creep back to the human factor.
One answer to this could be to stop the use of the word “tracking” - it is just counterproductive, as no one wants to feel the constant eye behind their shoulder, in a very-1984 kind of way. Gathering data should be about allowing the consumer to do so in a way that feels rewarding. Consumers, especially Millennials and the later generations have gotten smarter and know perfectly well how valuable their data is. Brands should acknowledge this power play and reward their loyal 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.