When Opt-In Content Becomes Spam…Email, Facebook, Twitter…

Today everyone is bombarded with media spam and clutter in our every day life. Walk or drive and you see billboards and company’s advertising on their buildings/storefronts. Advertising is now in gas stations and the supermarkets. Even the men’s room of bars have advertising!

Many brands, organizations and businesses use email and social networking with Opt-In programs thinking that these are superior to the traditional methods of Push Advertising. But in reality this is true only in the beginning. Eventually all those Opt-In methods become spam to consumers.

When the volume of Opt-In subscriptions reaches a point where they become clutter then your program loses it’s effectiveness.

For example the front page of Facebook and Twitter shows a stream of events in time. Your friends/contacts/followers post information about current happenings that can be viewed by a consumer. But people don’t crawl through the whole volume of postings once those postings become hard to follow due to volume. If you have 200 every time you log in then those posts drown each other out.

Same for email. I have a personal account that I have signed up for emails from Brands/Stores, News Providers, Sports Teams, Non-Profits Orgs, Political Groups, and Social/Lifestyle Events as well as friends contacting me. Today of my first 100 I combed through I deleted 93 of them without reading or opening them. Every single one of those 93 were Opt-In by me.

Yet when the CEO asks the CMO to review their marketing channels/programs the CMO will claim me in their tallies for the various Opt-In channels I subscribed too (from Cable TV to email) and the CMO will claim they reached me…yet that would be a lie.

The point of this post isn’t to specifically offer a solution as much to be aware that Brands must get creative if they want to ensure they stand out. This goes beyond crafting a message or an image. It goes to the heart of Advertising and why CMO’s have such high turnover. Specifically how you prove your value and your budgets value to the CEO! And to be fair sometimes the CMO or Agency is successful in their general mission yet are considered failures by the CEO. Other times the product or service is so good that no matter what the CMO or Agency does, they are a successful and take credit.

It is best to figure out a media plan that will increase the quality vs the quanitity of impressions/contact with the consumer. People will get your message out for you if you do a good job. Media plans should incorporate as much pay for performance as possible that is measurable/trackable.

Everyone looks after their own best interest. Your Agencies and Marketing Departments for years have relied on fuzzy math and logic to ensure you keep spending your ad dollars no matter what happens. Often with little proof of accomplishment. Some branding efforts will never be able to be truly measured.

Some image building programs will be done less with regard to increasing sales as much as supporting the demands of the brand. Think of a Rolex Bill Board or Panel Ad in an Airport. They know most of the people viewing the ads can never afford their watches but they need to present themselves to the common person so that the elite will feel special when they buy a Rolex. So these programs should not end, but brands should break out of their media budget the actual dollars they wish to allocate to actually bringing in sales and figure out how to maximize the return on those invested dollars vs. using the dart board/shot gun/me too-follow what everyone is doing approach.

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About chiefalien

Howie Goldfarb with 20 years of Sales and Marketing experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing in central Vermont to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive. His Degree in Finance and 14 years of B2B sales to Fortune 500 companies gives him a CFO’s view of marketing. Thus bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic, Howie relishes his role as an industry outsider. A native New Yorker and former Angelino, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are living life, art, music, the outdoors, he tries to cook and loves the Vermont Fresh Network – local sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.
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