We live in a world of clutter.
But you already knew that. After all, you have a pulse and an inbox that's being consistently loaded with offers, updates, and tempting banking offers from wayward royalty.
You've also become incredibly adept at tuning it all out in favor of only the most relevant messages.
According to a 2015 study by Silicon Valley-based research firm, The Radicati Group, more than 205 billion emails were sent/received per day, with 112 billion of these business-related. This equates to approximately 122 emails per user worldwide everyday.
As marketers, we often confuse the goal of increasing engagement with customers by ramping up the frequency of touches. If six touchpoints generated $2 million in revenue lift, why don't we try eight touchpoints? Why not 12? You know, "the squeaky wheel always gets the grease" or in this case the sale.
The "law of diminishing returns" quickly rears its ugly head. Engagement numbers plummet while unsubscribes soar. It ends up being a shouting match between competing messages.
Instead of cramming push campaigns into every hour of the day, marketing needs to take to heart the line from the classic Nuance Fragrance ad from the '80s: "The best way to get someone's attention is to whisper."
This means we have to break through the clutter by talking less, but in a personalized and relevant way. Similar to the "whisper" commercial, today's brands have the ability to be inches apart from their customer -- in a non-creepy way, of course.
If you're pushing out a high volume of customer emails, calls, and/or SMS notifications, chances are that you're not targeting at the nano-level. Similar to television and radio ads where they actually record the audio at a higher level, your marketing becomes the antithesis of a whisper when you're neglecting to use what you know about the customer already.
While brands have become extremely adept at capturing, storing, and even acting upon the large volumes of customer data being collected everyday, the ability to scale at a 1:1 level requires machine learning capabilities integrated into your marketing technology stack.
It's what separates the Ubers and Netflixes of the world from traditionally oriented marketing organizations.
So, what can marketers do to talk less and connect more?
Start taking advantage of customer information that is already known.
Think about them more as individuals as opposed to "herds" or segments of customers. Don't rely solely on summarized roll up data from your data warehouse. Profile information is nice, but figure out how to harness data you are collecting that better describes how they (as individuals) use your service. Do you bill your customers every month? If you do, then you have transactional data on what constitutes that bill. Leverage it!
Don't be afraid to talk to the data scientist in the room.
Partner with them to enable your vision of how to personalize marketing on behalf of your customers. They love to complex problems; and this one surely is! You may not understand propensity models or Bayesian algorithms, but if you can actively voice your key performance indicators, they should be able to help you maximize targeting performance via advanced correlation/regressions.
Focus on messaging that strengthens the relationship with good customers.
The number one reason customers leave a company is because of poor customer service. When coupled with the fact that the average repeat customer spends 67 percent more in their first 31st to 36th months of their relationship with a business compared to the first 0-6 months, it makes even more sense to hone in on customer loyalty. Encourage and reward high customer engagement, measuring the value across the lifetime relationship. At the same time, identify customers at risk for churn and test different retention strategies to keep them on board.
While it's tempting to follow the prevailing trend and continually increase your touchpoint volume, and add to the cacophony of sound your customers already hear, take a step back and evaluate how your teams are leveraging existing data to turn your conversation from a shouting match to a whisper.