Magazine article CRM Magazine

Companies Need to Make Better Friends; Study Identifies the Main Triggers for Consumer Disengagement in Online Marketing Campaigns

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Companies Need to Make Better Friends; Study Identifies the Main Triggers for Consumer Disengagement in Online Marketing Campaigns

Article excerpt

When it comes to online marketing strategy, less often is more. More than 90 percent of consumers have "broken up" with at least one brand on Facebook, email, or Twitter, according to a study by Exact-Target and CoTweet.

The reason? Too frequent, irrelevant, and boring messages.

"These channels are not just for throwing up an ad," says Jeff Rohrs, principal of Exact-Target's Marketing Research and Education Group. "It comes through loud and clear that consumers understand that they are in charge of these channels, and they are not the channels that marketers own."

Rohrs led the study that identified the top motivations for unfanning, unfollowing, and unsubscribing from marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and email. Researchers asked more than 1,500 consumers questions in focus groups about how they engage and disengage with brands. The study was featured in "The Social Break-Up," the eighth research brief in ExactTarget and CoTweet's Subscribers, Fans, and Followers series that provides insight into how consumers interact with brands online.

The results show that consumers have become increasingly cautious over the past year about what they endorse and subscribe to online. Rohrs believes the main cause is that consumers feel inundated with information, something that marketers must take into consideration when devising successful online advertising campaigns. "It's not an aversion to the channels, but it is recognition that there is only so much they can consume in a given day and only so many brands they want to engage with," Rohrs says.

According to Trendline Interactive's cofounder and CEO, Morgan Stewart, who worked closely with Rohrs during the study, overexcitement about social marketing's capabilities has led to marketers' abuse of the channels that deliver a surplus of irrelevant information to consumers. "They just feel like it's all too much. It's almost to the level of harassment," he says.

A social break-up does not necessarily mean consumers are abandoning their allegiance to particular brands. Rohrs says marketers need to re-evaluate their online strategies while prioritizing consumers' expectations and needs. For example, if consumers are unsubscribing from email, less frequent messages, such as monthly updates, may be better suited for the audience. Rohrs also suggests directing consumers from one online channel to another. "Perhaps you use email to direct a consumer to friending you on Facebook or following you on Twitter," he says. …

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