Cutting Through The Cluttered Communications Landscape, 1 of 2

By: Leslie R. Wolff – A Marketing Curmudgeon

In today’s world we are being “attacked” by onslaught of communication messages daily by the hundreds, if not thousands. E-mail abound, the Internet has unleashed an information overload that is physically, as well as time needed, insane and impossible to absorb.

It used to be just advertising that look to grab our attention as these comments from The Financial Times reflected on a number of years ago.

“As consumers are bombarded with ever rising numbers of advertisements, companies are finding it harder and harder to be heard because of the clutter of competing messages.”

“As the demand for advertising grows, commercial messages are finding their way into unexpected places, including public lavatories, golf course holes and the sides of cows.”

One question that needs to be asked now that it is easier is to reach our targeted audience due to the advances of technology based tools … “Have we become more effective?” The answer is NOT AT ALL and for a number of reasons.

The Message – You have to address the WIIFM Factor

“ What’s important to you might not be important to me.”

No matter what format you choose to deliver your marketing message a business has to answer this question for desired audience – “What’s in it for me?” A fact of business life is that purchasing decisions are made on the real or perceived benefit that will be received from the decision to take a buying action, not the features or price alone.

Mimic Marketing: If everyone else is doing it, should you?

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking. -George S. Patton

One of my favorite exercises with the Social Media site LinkedIn is to ask questions such as “What percentage of people doing a ‘search’ on Google or some other similar service explore past the 2nd page of results?” The most optimistic of responses said 10%. A recent study showed traditional direct mail still provides a stronger response return then e-mail campaigns. Does that mean that you should take a fresh look at what you are doing and perhaps revisit more traditional communication formats, but with a fresh creative perspective?

The answer is yes and no. The Internet is powerful, when used smartly it is not the “Holy Grail” that only it will lead to business success. It’s only one ingredient in what should be an integrated marketing mix. Like any other form of creative communication examine how the more successful firms have utilized it even if they’re not in your industry, you can always learn by observing others and adapting what you’ve learned to your particular situation.

“Your time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

Common Sense Marketing: You can only spend what you have available
No matter the size of your business your marketing efforts and decisions are
influenced by your available budget. So to rise above the crowd you have to

• Communicate from the view of what’s important to your targeted audience
• Try not to replicate, duplicate or imitate but originate your approach
• Keep an open mind when it comes to change as change it is a constant

Obvious Marketing Opportunities are often hidden in plain sight
If you are willing to take the time to observe and absorb what’s going on in your field you will identify where the sameness factors are among you and your competitors, but you can also identify the untapped opportunities

• Don’t be afraid to utilize old, but proven techniques but with a fresh creative “eye”

Clutter is everywhere — on TV and radio, in newspapers and magazines,
direct mail literally everywhere you turn. But even with that clutter there
are still ways around that allow one to communicate innovatively without
spending a fortune. Understand, it is rare for a message or even your brand
name to be remembered if it doesn’t receive multiple exposure.

Keep in mind even though $3 million plus spent on a one-shot, 30-second Super Bowl commercial will rarely create extended recognition of a brand and the products, services or programs it offers.

Branding, like any other form of communication, must inform a target audience not only of a brand name but also of what benefits the product; service or company has to offer. Those benefits range from the effects of the product itself to the customer service that backs it.

Next week read Cutting through the Clutter 2 of 2

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Filed under Free Marketing Tips, Marketing Curmudgeon, small business

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