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Engagement

Three Psychological Pitfalls Marketers Should Avoid In 2021

By Norman Guadagno, CMO, Acoustic

A year in quarantine has changed consumer psychology and the rules of engagement for marketers. From dealing with isolation to significant economic uncertainty,  it is no surprise that depression has doubled for UK adults throughout the last twelve months. 

As the UK lockdown starts to ease, people are grappling with the conflicting emotions of desiring connection with each other on the one hand, yet remaining wary of too much close contact, too soon. 

For marketers, this means both adapting their 2021 plans to today’s “new normal,” contactless world, while ensuring that empathy and connection remain at the core of every communication. To accomplish this, we must all avoid the following pitfalls. 

Don’t mistake empathy for disingenuity 

We’ve all heard the same phrases a dizzying number of times by now: “These are unprecedented times,” “Stay at home, save lives,” and “We hope you’re doing well in these trying times.” For many brands, these empathetic phrases served as a pseudo-obligatory acknowledgement of current events before diving into sales-driven messaging. But for consumers, these messages quickly became white noise, a reason to ignore the communication altogether.

Data from Acoustic’s analysis of email marketing from January to May 2020 reinforces this. While open rates in the UK and Ireland increased by 19% in March versus January as consumers scoured for information on how to safely buy essential supplies and support their favourite businesses, click-through rates and click-to-open rates, on the other hand, remained relatively flat. This signals that emails with “An important message from our CEO” piqued curiosity but did not incite action or engagement. 

For marketers, the takeaway is clear: Show, don’t tell. Find creative ways to make it clear you genuinely care about your customers, without falling back on the same tired phrases. As marketers, we should emulate rigour. Our messaging should be clear, transparent, and to-the-point. The rest is just white noise. 

Stay connected with your audience 

Regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, it’s important to remember marketing should not be a one-way street. The best marketers foster community and connection, which are vitally important in today’s context. For many consumers who are working from home, the marketing communications they receive may be some of the only forms of communication they have with the outside world in a given day, besides work and the news of the day. This gives marketers a golden opportunity to search for ways to spark conversations with and amongst their target audiences. 

After all, the pandemic has all but eliminated the small talk and water-cooler conversations that play a key role in keeping us happy and productive at work. In today’s stay-at-home world, many of us have replaced these innocuous conversations with scrolling through social media or “forced fun” like workplace happy hours on Zoom. We have less opportunity to opt-in to small talk, but brands can change that. Marketers should embrace new ways they can foster conversation and community through social media, message boards, or other means to create a sense of normality for their consumers. 

Don’t get too close 

It’s one thing to leverage consumer sentiment and personal data to make your communication more personal and relevant. It’s another thing altogether to get too granular that you prompt concern about misuse of that data and abuse an individual’s sense of trust. 

It’s a bit like dating in today’s online world, where finding out about someone is seemingly so easy. It’s almost second nature to Google your date or look them up on Facebook or Instagram to find out more about them beforehand. But would you ask them about their holiday to Croatia the year before last that you found out about? Of course not. At least, I hope not….

Marketers face a similar conundrum. We may have psychographic data about our consumers, but should we use it? And if so, how? Marketers should devise new approaches that allow consumers to be more involved in granting permission to use their data on their terms. Allowing them to actively curate information about their likes and dislikes, in exchange for a better value proposition — a better brand experience — a “give to get.” In this scenario, an informed consumer is acknowledging that a brand may want to learn more about them — and then taking things a step further by cultivating information about themselves that is relevant for brand marketers to know. In the coming months, marketers should think about how to tailor this approach to psychographic profiling to keep their communications empathetic and connected to a consumer’s personal identity. 

Ultimately, marketing and dating can be surprisingly similar. Marketers always want to keep consumers engaged and keep them coming back for more, which requires a delicate balance of reaching out to the target audience without overreaching. As marketers plan upcoming campaigns, we must avoid the artificial genuineness, one-way communication, and overt psychographic profiling that can be so off-putting to consumers. If not, those consumers just might say, “This date is over,” stand up, and leave. 

Norman Guadagno is CMO at Acoustic, an open, independent marketing cloud.

Short videos not always the best for engagement

Video marketing platform TwentyThree has published a new study detailing how people consume video content, with surprising results.

Perviously, many followed the rule that short, concise videos offered more engagement than longer videos.

However, the findings by TwentyThree show that while 80% of the videos produced and shared on social media are under five minutes long, they actually account for less than a third of video engagement.

The study found that videos over 15 minutes in length accounted for 50% of all engagement recorded – but are only 8% of all video content produced.

Sixty-six per cent of people watch an average of 03.56 minutes of video, compared to 23% of people watching videos with an average length of 00.58, and 14% watching videos of an average length of 00:20 on Facebook.

The study also revealed that click-through rates increase by 62% when a video is laced in the thumbnail of an email campaign.

The study was based on feedback from  300 marketing teams, 1.5 million videos, 1.7 billion impressions and 650 million video plays.

LinkedIn joins ASOS and John Lewis for marcomms campaign…

The world’s largest online professional network, LinkedIn, has joined forces with retail companies John Lewis and ASOS with the launch of its new international B2C and B2B marcomms campaign, designed to drive awareness of its ‘Jobs’ function as well as support engagement amongst its global members.

The Way In, which is a content-led marketing campaign, focuses on delivering inspirational stories from LinkedIn members who love their jobs, and details how professionals can achieve greater fulfilment from their careers. The integrated campaign features dedicated content, social and PR elements that will run from throughout the month of October, and marks the brand’s biggest UK campaign of the year.

Content is hosted on the campaign’s microsite and includes member and recruiter interview videos from ASOS and John Lewis. Additionally, ASOS UK headquarters have opened their doors to produce 360 degree videos that provide a behind-the-scenes look at the eTailer’s operations.

Director of consumer marketing, EMEA at LinkedIn, Peter Maxmin, explained how the campaign was created: “Being fulfilled in your job plays a big factor in both your personal and professional happiness and development. It seemed natural for us to develop a campaign that inspires professionals to think about what they love about their jobs and how to be more fulfilled in their careers. It’s great to be teaming up with some of the world’s biggest and most recognisable brands to help people find the way into their dream career.”

‘The Way In’ will also include comprehensive research conducted across eight markets: the Netherlands, UK, the US, Germany, France, Australia Canada and Singapore.

To find out more about campaign, visit: lnkd.in/thewayin.

 

You can also join the conversation on Twitter using @LinkedInUK #TheWayIn

Poor digital ad views lead marketers to continue ‘wasting money’…

A new research study compiled by Lumen has found that a significant amount of digital advertising is not being viewed at all, and suggests many marketers are not productively applying the effective techniques learned from other platforms.

Conducted in partnership with Aimia, analysis commenced in January of this year and researchers installed laptop-mounted eye tracking cameras on 300 consumers’ laptops to gather visual data on what they notice while online; recording a total of 30,000 minutes of data and  evidence relating to around 15,000 digital ads.

Results concluded with only 44 per cent of digital display ads receiving any views at all, and just nine per cent of those ads received more than one second of attention. In addition, four per cent of the ads in question garnered more than two seconds of engagement.

Managing director at Lumen, Mike Follett, commented: “The best digital ads do get looked at – but they tend to be simple, elegant, beautiful ads that a creative department would be proud of, rather than moving direct mail pieces. When developing digital ads, creatives should ‘think like a poster’ rather than taking their cues from ‘performance marketers’, who have literally nothing to teach the advertising industry.”

Read more on the study here