Can You Name The Most Effective Form of Marketing?


Everyone hates intrusive and annoying marketing. When the web was recognized as a future marketing medium about a decade or so ago, the entire industry started filling up sites with huge, ugly, intrusive banner ads – yahoo! anyone?

Then came along google which provided contextual advertising and we know where google and yahoo are today.

Similarly, everyone now is talking about mobile advertising and whether it works or not. To us its very clear – those tiny banner ads on mobiles don’t work and mobile ads are not the future of mobile marketing. Mobile ads are wasted dollars and then wasted time conducting meetings whether its an effective channel or not. Mobile ads on apps such as Flipboard probably work, because they are contextual and fill-up the entire screen.

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Let’s say we measured various marketing channels or tactics along the dimensions of how intrusive they are vs how much customer effort is required either for the customers to find the business or what they have to do once they discover the business. The graph may look something like this.

•    Phone marketing – No brainer. When was the last time you bought something from such a call? 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list.
•    Online marketing – The customer effort required is low because once they see the ad, they quickly decide whether they are interested or not and then its a matter of few clicks. Its still intrusive though. 84 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising.
•    Email marketing – Not entirely intrusive and requires moderate amount of customer effort. Not intrusive because the customer can choose to ignore your email or filter them out but effort it required for the customer to remember to come back to it or take action. 91 percent of email users have unsubscribed from a company email that they previously opted into.
•    Print advertising – not very intrusive I would say. Unless they start putting advertising banners on your car windshield, while you are driving. But the amount of effort required for the customer to remember to take some action means he/she needs to either make a note somewhere or remember it. 44 percent of direct mail is never opened.
•    Website – not at all intrusive, because the customer chose to come to your website. The customer effort required is moderate because he/she had to find your website and wade through pages to take an action.

The critical question then is “Is there a better way”?

Yes, probably. Mobile seems like a channel which won’t work by simply marketing at people and interrupting them all the time. Since the phone is an intensely personal device, consumers will force the world of marketing and sales to be less interruptive and annoying and much more aligned with how modern consumers shop, live, and buy.

How could mobile be a medium which is the least intrusive?

ComScore MobiLens research from last year, for instance, demonstrated how consumer behaviour was shifting in favour of apps, with more content downloaded via apps than through browsers for the first time. And according to Ovum it is no flash in the pan, with mobile application adoption expected to increase sharply from 2013 across developing countries.

We are still in the nascency when it comes to mobile apps and development. But apps will be a critical medium through which customers use their phones. You would market to your customer about your app and if they like your business or brand they will download your app. That implies, the customer will give you permission to be on their phone. Similarly, the customer will chose whether to receive push notifications from you or not.

Marketing will be all about providing value in exchange for value. That’s the future of mobile and marketing – Value for value.



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