Marketing is simultaneously easier and harder than it has ever been before. It’s easier because everyone has a phone in their hand capable of receiving your ads, and we have endless amounts of data about how effective those ads are, but it’s harder because people are being bombarded with so much information from other advertisers that it’s nearly impossible to stand out. People see up to 15,000 ads in a given day, almost never getting a break, creating an exhausted, ‘over it’ crowd of people who just really don’t want to see one more ad at all.
This has created a new kind of audience, one that is averse to your ads and incredibly hard to market to. On the bright side, this holds companies to a higher standard. The quality of products on the market today is better than ever before, simply because our current populace isn’t quite as easily fooled.
It is still possible to market effectively, but you need to invest more attention, energy, and resources in order to do so. Here are some of the conditions that occur in people who are over-marketed to, and how you can overcome or even use them to your advantage
1. Consumers Are Smarter Than Ever
In the age of mass information, consumers are… wait for it… more informed. They know all the tricks that marketers use, they know their brains are designed to make impulse buys, and they’re also educated on which companies are behaving in a morally responsible manner. If they feel that you’re dumbing things down too much (insulting!), that you’re unethical, or simply see you as a cheesy salesman, your chances of making a sale are slim to none.
If you want to get conversions in this day and age, you need to be smart as well. Trying to trick people into buying something they don’t need is not a viable business model. If you’re not genuine, you will be sniffed out immediately.
If you want to win over a knowledgeable consumer base, you need to start by offering high-quality products that legitimately solve problems. Don’t worry about marketing until you’ve achieved this primary goal and actually believe in what you’re selling.
2. They’re Good at Avoiding You
Consumers breeze over 99% of the ads that get sent their way. They use ad blockers, headphones, books, and even internal tricks that shut down their attention when a marketer is trying to get in. The minute people realize you’re marketing to them, they begin to tune you out, if not beforehand.
Even if you get them on their device, they’re not giving you much time. On Instagram, you have less than a second to reel someone in before they scroll past your ad, maybe even closer to 1/10th of a second.
Hack: Find them where they are, and be prepared to be ignored on your first few attempts. Make your ad recognizable instantly, and use remarketing to build a small amount of brand recognition even among people who are zooming past you. Eventually, you may just pique their interest and win a few seconds of attention.
3. They’re Under Psychological Stress
Many people today feel disconnected from community, unengaged and even depressed or filled with anxiety. This results from feeling invisible in a world that’s overly corporate and impersonal. This is obviously far from a positive thing, and it’s nothing to take advantage of. It is, however, something that there is immense value in solving.
Do you have a product that can offer some type of respite from these feelings? A retreat from the dominant corporate landscape or a way to connect to others? The meditation app Calm is a great example. Their Instagram ads simply play calm, soothing sounds for a short period, or encourage users to take a deep breath. They don’t push a sale at all, they simply give people a glimpse into what their product can do. It’s different, it’s unique, and it’s a solution to modern-day problems. That’s real value.
Hack: Not every company is Calm, but you can still find ways to market around this area by being funny and not overtly trying to sell anything. Make fun of the situation of being overmarketed to. Make fun of yourself. Prove you understand your customer – which creates the connection they are missing – and you will be rewarded.
4. They Have Shorter Attention Spans
With instant entertainment rarely farther than a click away, attention spans are shorter than ever. You can no longer take advantage of the boredom that ran rampant before smartphones, and if you deliver boredom, you’re done.
Even if you do get someone’s attention, if they don’t understand who you are or why they should be wasting their precious time with you, you’ve lost them. You need to convey that information incredibly quickly in order to have a chance.
Hack: Make it simple, and make it immediately recognizable. If you can communicate who you are and what you offer immediately upon being seen, you stand out and will likely win a few extra seconds.
5. People Don’t Hate All Ads – They Hate Bad Ads
Even the staunchest haters of advertising find it hard to hate on everything. We all have that favorite commercial or even favorite company. It’s actually quite a relief to happen upon an ad you enjoy. It’s only bad ads that actually draw scorn.
Marketing content should be no different than any other content, so subscribe to the mentality “entertain or abstain.” If you’re not giving people something they actually want to see, then don’t give them anything at all.
People also hate feeling like their attention has been violated. Pop-ups receive the most vitriol, and people will likely close them out regardless of their content.
Hack: You need to be visually pleasing. You need to be honest and not overly cheesy or sentimental. Don’t oversell yourself. And most of all, don’t go for the cheap ads like pop-ups, because you’re basically flushing your marketing dollars down the drain.
Competing for attention is both harder and easier than ever before, but don’t forget that you also have that information on your side. Study what works, offer quality products, and find ways to entertain people – quickly. If you can do all of these things, the consumers will be kicking down your door – or maybe your firewall – before you know it.