How Custom Content Killed Interruption Marketing

Interruption marketing is an annoyance to many customers. Instead of attracting clients, it turns them off. It used to be the only form of advertising marketing departments had at their disposal, so entire campaigns were planned around methods that intruded in peoples’ lives. Every brand in the world was screaming at customers at once, all trying to get their attention. People felt continually inundated by brands trying to push them to eat this, buy that, or go there. Eventually, it got to be too much.

Into the Morgue

Interruption marketing is dead, but the landscape is still littered with its remains. Here are a few examples.

  • Telemarketing
  • Print advertising
  • Direct mail
  • Spam email
  • Radio and television ads
  • Online ads that delay the user’s content

If you think of each example, it makes sense why it’s called interruptive. When you sit down for dinner, you take your first highly-anticipated bite and the phone rings. It’s a telemarketer interrupting your meal. Your favorite television show gets to a critical moment, when a talking lizard commercial interrupts programming and leaves you more than slightly irritated.

The idea used to be that any publicity is good publicity. Even if users resented being forced to view or listen to a message, they were still exposed, and that exposure would result in brand recall. However, studies show repeated exposure to interrupting ads can cause people to transfer the irritation they feel with the interruption to the brand itself.

The Journal of Interactive Marketing published a study designed to investigate whether interruptive advertising affected customers’ inclination to pay for products or services associated with the advertiser’s brand. They asked users to play an engaging computer game and designed two fictional brands.

The game interrupted participants at random intervals with ads from the fictional brands. At the end of the session, they had the opportunity to purchase merchandise with the same logo. The advertising interruption significantly lowered their willingness to pay for an item branded by the company that intruded on their game play.

Advertising is about attracting customers, not driving them away. It’s time to bury the interruptions.

Investigating the Death of Interruption Marketing

Why does interruptive marketing no longer work? It always annoyed people, but now technology improvements make it so people have more control over what they watch and hear.

  • TiVo allows viewers to screen ads.
  • Do-not-call lists prevent telemarketing.
  • Spam filters block unsolicited emails.
  • Ad blockers prevent online ads.
  • Customers set up a separate email account they seldom view for when an address is required to make a purchase or view content.

The most resented form of online advertising is the pop-up ad. Seventy-three percent of people polled say they hate them and are more likely to navigate away from a page with pop-ups. People also report closing web pages because videos auto-play, and report that they think less of brands that use auto-playing ads.

Marketers helped cause the death of interruptive advertising because they ignored the effect of frustration on consumers. Often, display advertising is done the wrong way. Display takes up more of the screen than the desired content. When ads take over home pages, users feel the website values revenue over user experience.

Interruptive advertising also died because it brings a low return on investment. Businesses develop costly email marketing campaigns and send frequent email to everyone on their list. Users simply unsubscribe.

Print materials bring a low return on investment because they require frequent, expensive updates. There’s cost for postage or other forms of distribution, and the intended audience often throws the resource away unread.

Interruption marketing reduces ROI because it’s difficult to customize. Billboards only contain one message, so they try to target everyone and end up interesting very few. Mass email campaigns are often designed around what the company wants to sell, not around what the target audience wants to read.

Content | Interruption Marketing’s Successor

People have more choices than ever before. In the age of selective consumption, people demand more control over their engagement. Content marketing is successful because it involves giving consumers content they choose to view or read. Content marketing is different in several ways.

Most of content marketing is also permission marketing

Users opt in to follow businesses on social media, receive email or interact with specific brands. When businesses don’t abuse the privilege to contact consumers, it builds trust.

Content offers value instead of distracting and interrupting

The right process creates reciprocal relationships. Offer valuable knowledge or content that is unique and original, and in exchange you have the chance to earn the customer’s business.

Content can be easily personalized

Identify your target audience and distill those characteristics into one persona. Create content exclusively for that one individual. If your business has more than one target audience, don’t send one email to all of them, differentiate content.

Content can be customized for mobile

A report released in March of this year found U.S. adults spent an average of 87 hours every month browsing on their smartphones. The best content is written simply and formatted to the browser on which users will obtain access.

Content is shareable

If you provide expert or unique information to the people who are most interested in your goods or services, they will do some of your marketing for you, by sharing that content on social media. While people hate interruptive advertising, they’re influenced by what other people share. When users share your content, the perception of your brand improves.

Content helps search engines find you

While content shouldn’t ever be written just for search engine optimization, the more your content is shared, the more inbound traffic you have to your website. Google prefers substantial content, and the more you have to interest users, the longer they’ll stay on your page.

Some examples of content marketing are:

  • Downloadable e-books
  • Blogs
  • Informative videos
  • Infographics
  • Case studies

A mix of content marketing techniques can help businesses reach their goals. While interruption marketing bombards consumers with unwanted messages, is difficult to personalize and provides a low return on investment, permission marketing allows the delivery of relevant, welcome information.

Interruption marketing is dead and something much better has taken its place.

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