05 Oct, 2017

As A Marketer, How Can You Avoid Intrusive Marketing?


Put yourself in a consumer’s shoes: you’re scrolling through your favorite social media site, trying to connect with brands, celebrities, athletes, you name it, based on your preferences and interests.

Then, it hits you. You see one advertisement, you see two advertisements, by the third one you want to throw your phone at the wall. (Okay, that was dramatic, but you get the point.)

“As digital becomes ever more integrated in our everyday lives, it’s not about giving people more tech, but better tech – tech that is mindful of who we are as human beings. The more we live by our screen, the more notifications we receive, the more distracted we are – and therein lies a problem for marketers.”  Marketing Tech News reports.

If you haven’t gotten the point yet, it’s that often times than not, we feel like we are constantly being invaded with brand messages. Since technology is developing more than ever, it puts customers at the forefront of all digital marketing campaigns more than ever as well.

The customer is the heart of each campaign. As a marketer, you make the proper decisions in order to successfully carry out a message that will reach your targeted audience. Although yes, it does have to be strategic, it also needs to be sneaky, in a sense. So sneaky, that customers don’t even know they’re being marketed to.

So, as a marketer, how does one succeed when it comes to avoiding the intrusive marketing realm? Well, first it’s important to understand exactly what intrusive marketing is, in order to avoid it.

What Is Intrusive Marketing?

The name pretty much speaks for itself. Intrusive marketing refers to any type of marketing technique that targets a customer in an excessive, or obnoxious way.

“While you might think there’s no such thing as bad publicity, customers can develop an antipathy to a business, meaning the marketing campaign has accomplished the opposite of its aim. What counts as intrusively varies among consumers, so query your customers often to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.” Chron reports.

Since marketing efforts work to gain customer’s attention and achieve the call to action of the business, intrusive marketing does the opposite. It creates resentment and builds a divide between customers and the product or service.

“Not only might intrusive marketing damage the reputation of your business, but it also might make reaching customers more difficult as they learn to stymie your efforts.” Chron reports.

As a marketer, you know these are all big no-nos. It may even create a term called consumer resistance.  Consumer resistance is a term that describes consumers who will go to great lengths to actually stay avoid different channels just to stay far away from intrusive advertising. That means that you could potentially lose an entire group of people, due to the intrusiveness of your campaign.

“For example, consumers might record television programs so they can skip commercials, or they might provide secondary email addresses so they can limit the amount of spam they receive at their primary email address.”  Chron reports.

Intrusive marketing can be seen through many different tactics, all of which marketers use frequently in campaigns.

Whether if it’s on social media, in your email box, on the bus driving by you, sometimes, it feels like all we see is strategic advertisements to provoke emotion in order to achieve loyal relationships.

Direct-mail Campaigns

Direct-mail campaigns give marketers a chance to reach multiple audiences at once, using email, or postal mail through brochures, catalogs, postcards, newsletters or sales letters. It allows companies to target an audience one-on-one, except for other forms of advertising where you never know who is reading your message.

Although this tactic has proven to be effective for big cooperations, it can also be considered intrusive when it comes to specific audiences. More specifically, email campaigns can hinder your overall brand. They often times end up in junk mail, and customers don’t even read past the subject line.

“Not only is this type of email marketing annoying, but it’s also not CAN-SPAM compliant. Blindly emailing data that you scrape or purchase is useless — they have no idea who you are or what you offer. Instead, focus on building a double opt-in list and allowing your subscribers to leave anytime they wish.” Entrepreneur reports.

The Solution

To avoid seeming like junk mail, companies can use keywords and catchy colors in order to promote the service or product you are offering. Neon colors attract attention and also works as a clear message to your audience. The trick is to catch your audience’s attention, without going overboard.

You can also include a tactic that includes putting “yes” or “no” stickers on the mail, so you can gauge how many people are actually responding in a positive way. The stickers will allow customers to give permission to you, which can come across as an empathetic effort.

Retargeted Ads

Retargeted ads are great, to an extent. This form of advertising has put companies in a bind, because sometimes it is effective, and other times it is not.

These ads are effective when it comes to driving web traffic to your site, but not so great when it comes to your reputation online. Depending on your audience, you could get some negative feedback for these ads.

Retargeted ads can also be known as behavioral marketing, simply because it takes the online behavior of your customer and leverages that information in order to sell your product or service.

“Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit.” Retargeter reports. 

For example, picture yourself shopping for new clothes on a retail site. You eventually grow tired of the search, walk away from your computer, and then go back online a few days later. You log on to your Facebook page and there it is! An advertisement for those new shoes you clicked on, and the website you visited a few days ago. Suddenly your interest in the shoes are sparked again, and you may even click the ad, directing you to the website you spent hours on a few days ago.

At the time, you think your computer knows you so well. It’s like your online closet, and your online activity is so seamless and technology is magic. But, no, that isn’t the case completely.

This was all made possible through a small code placed on the website, which you don’t even notice exists. Every time you logged onto the site, the code works its magic and creates a browser cookie on your computer. You then become a “cookied visitor” and every time you browse the web, its working behind the scenes.

It then retargets the provider so it knows when to produce ads that they know you will enjoy, based on your web activity. As you can tell, this tactic is powerful and often times works well for brands, except when customers get annoyed by them.

“Millennials and Gen Z’ers are said to be especially impatient with commercial messaging, but even those people born before 1982 have been known to get ticked off by messaging that’s just too pushy.” Technology Therapy reports.

It is no surprise that millennials don’t appreciate this type of marketing. This generation has proven that they want personalized marketing, but not annoying marketing. Those shoes that they looked at a few days ago? They would rather not see them again.

The Solution

This puts marketers in a tough spot, but not an impossible one. Yes, people can find retargeted ads annoying, but they also drive sales in many cases. The whole point of retargeted ads is to create inbound and outbound marketing strategies, as well as to optimize conversions.

So, as a marketer, it is important to think about the content you are releasing with these ads. It can be done strategically, without the customer even knowing they are being targeted.

“Professional advertising agencies build their businesses around finding ways to entice customers without turning them off, so hire reputable experts if you have difficulty marketing your product or service.” Small Business reports.

The key is to not be too pushy while pushing a message. The way you word your campaign can be a good indication if you are too aggressive or not. Visual content tends to help get your message across because it speaks for itself as far as content is concerned. Disrupting the user’s experience is a no-go when it comes to keeping your audience’s loyalty.

Obnoxious Campaigns

Obnoxious campaigns refer to any marketing technique that produces content in an excessive way. Companies can sometimes go overboard with marketing efforts, especially on social media. Posting excessively to your following base creates customer resistance and can actually lead people to unfollow you.

“Companies should be asking ‘What’s the right notification? When is the right notification time? And how do we make sounds or notifications that can be changed or modified by the user?’” Marketing Tech reports.

The Solution

When conducting a social media marketing campaign, or any campaign for that matter, it is important to consider a timeline of the posts and create a calendar that indicates when you are posting, and what content you will be using. This way, you can stay up to date with your targeted marketing approaches and you won’t be vulnerable to being excessive or annoying to your audience.

“Obnoxious marketing campaigns also can be intrusive. For example, some people dislike take-out menus hung on their door knobs, large billboards and outdoor advertisements littering their roads, unusually loud television or radio commercials, odiferous inserts in magazines or any other form of advertisement that goes out of its way to command attention.” Chron Business reports. 

I know what you’re thinking, that pretty much makes up the entirety of all marketing tactics. But, it’s not so much the approach that is the problem, it’s the content that comes along with it. Customers like to be targeted but also appreciate some personalization.


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The role of the Chief Marketing Officer has drastically changed over the past few years. As new technology enters the already highly complex marketing environment, maximizing budget, resources, and trends is an endless juggling act for CMOs in consumer-driven industries. It is important for CMO’s to stay up to date with the marketing trends that are constantly emerging in the marketing sector, in order to properly target a customer without being intrusive or obnoxious. As we enter 2018, the customer is on the go more than ever and expects personalized campaigns to meet their desired needs. Marketers are responsible for meeting their audience, without causing them to be resentful of the brand or service.

In order to stay up to date with the emerging marketing trends, learn from the best of the business. This is not just another “Marketing” event. Spaces are reserved for the best in the business. If you’re a CMO looking to stay one step ahead of the digital world,

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