Let's Be Honest, People Hate Digital Marketing

By Sarah Schaffer,
business.com writer
|
Feb 27, 2020
Image Credit: fizkes/Getty Images

To avoid irritating consumers, businesses need to use digital marketing strategically.

Digital ads are everywhere. Before you watch your favorite YouTube videos, in the middle of your favorite blogs, before you listen to your favorite songs, even when you check your email. You can't escape them. Yet now, more than ever, are people taking extra measures to avoid them. Consumers are now recording shows to fast-forward through commercials, shelling out money so their favorite streaming services aren't interrupted, and setting up ad blockers on their devices. As technology advances and brings great strides in the quality of life, there is always a catch, and one of those catches is the overwhelming number of ads being thrown in our faces every day.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should

By 2001, more than half of all American adults were using the internet and Google was steadily claiming its way to fame. With that followed other big tech stars: Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, and more. However, leave it to the marketing industry to take something pure and pollute it.

Originally, Google was designed to help people find content that they're interested in. Facebook was meant to help users keep in touch with family and friends. Blogs were meant to build a community of those with similar interests. If you look at these sites today, they have morphed into more of an advertisement popularity contest. Now you can't log in to Facebook without every other post being an ad or browse Instagram without your favorite stars pushing products, and other content being constantly interrupted by an advertisement explaining why you should buy this or sign up for that.

We all understand that the rise of the internet and having the capabilities of being connected to such a large audience is a marketing industry's playground, but it doesn't necessarily mean that this industry should abuse its privileges.

The damage has been done

We are now seeing the effects digital marketing has brought to the general public. There is definitely a time and place for it, but companies need to be more strategic about it. With more ad blockers put in place than ever before, the effect it will have on future marketing is significant. The rise of Generation Z will also impact digital marketing. They're tech natives, and as such, are savvy enough to dodge ads. Furthermore, by the end of this year, they're going to make up 40% of American consumers and they're demanding more authenticity with their purchasing decisions. Look at this way, by abusing our powers in the digital marketing space, it has created an effect of the rise of skepticism among millennials, and frankly, Gen Z doesn't even give it the time of day.

So, is digital marketing dead?

Of course not. As long as the internet and technology flourish, digital marketing is far from dead. However, it's becoming more apparent that digital marketing is changing its landscape yet again. With more sophisticated data and analytics taking place, digital marketing is now becoming more of a psychological study than a popularity contest.

As we transition out of a phase where more likes equals more sales, we are now entering a digital marketing era where it's not about how many people know you that influences the buyer's decision, it's about how you're going to get into the consumer's soul. This is because most companies are entering a market that is oversaturated.

With an oversaturated market, data and analytics are now coming to the forefront of digital marketing to help businesses understand consumers. And not just any consumers. Your consumers. By understanding your consumers, you can learn how to touch their souls and make them passionate about your brand.

Consumers don't want to be sold to; they want a relationship.

Over the years, studies have shown a decrease in click-through rates among ads and a rise in response to influencers. But influencer marketing is starting to become oversaturated too, which is becoming worrisome to marketers.

When a company hires a marketing team, they want to scale their business and scale quickly. They want to go viral, they want lots of website traffic, they need phone calls. And unfortunately for them, this is not the future. The future consumer wants to build a relationship with a company, build brand loyalty, establish a relationship with a company that they're proud of and that share their values and beliefs. This is changing the landscape of marketing in a way that agencies are scared of.

Clients are demanding better results, more numbers, and want to see where their ad dollars are going and how it's benefitting them as a business. And honestly, digital marketing should be able to provide those numbers. But everyone needs to soon realize that their digital marketing strategy is going to require a little more psychoanalysis than they thought.

Conclusion

Digital marketing is undergoing yet another massive change in the way people engage with advertising. In the beginning, when the home internet was making its debut and sites like Facebook and Twitter were born, it was a great way to reach potential buyers. Then, the rise of paid advertising took hold and made the digital marketing industry much more lucrative. People could pay to have their advertisements seen and, in the beginning, it was a great way to scale your business and to scale it fast. However, now with a more competitive digital marketing landscape, consumers are getting annoyed and ads aren't as effective.

This doesn't mean that popular digital marketing strategies like pay per click advertising, email marketing, influencer marketing, etc. are on their way out. It just means that it's time for companies to be more strategic about their processes. The data and analytics provided are the gateway to understanding your particular consumer and their purchasing journey. It is now time to utilize this data to build a relationship with them because that is where the future of digital marketing is going.

If you're not using your digital marketing dollars to learn about your buyer, then you're losing out. Don't let agencies with fluff reports and data with high impression rates and click-through rates wow you into submission. Ask them:

  • WHY this data is important?
  • HOW does this data help my business?
  • WHAT does this data tell me about my buyer?

It's an exciting new era in the digital marketing field to be able to understand our consumers so well, and the fact that the future of consumerism would be to build a relationship with a company would be a positive aspect. (Say hello to a much easier customer retention process!)

Digital marketing is still alive and well, and can still do your business wonders. It still provides a great platform for your voice to be heard and to reach out to customers. It's a competitive place, but a great one at that. Let's just keep the salesy techniques at bay and develop a solid strategy that you can measure and analyze. Start understanding who truly is passionate about your company, why are they choosing your business, and analyze the customer journey to learn how they found you.

I have over ten years of digital marketing experience working with multi-million dollar companies, both nationwide to small locally owned businesses. I've been employed by marketing agencies, and have been self-employed as well. When it comes to digital marketing, I've seen great success with digital strategies and campaigns, and unfortunate fails. I'm now trying to help spread the word on digital marketing and help small businesses make sense of their digital marketing data, go beyond the vanity metrics, and help them find the true ROI for their digital marketing efforts.
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