As a longtime direct response marketer, I’ve often employed regression analysis in order to better understand prospect and customer behavior. When printed magazines were in their heyday and reader renewal subscriptions were a lifeblood to advertising revenue, regression analysis allowed renewal efforts to be streamlined based on the reader’s previous renewal behavior. If it was known that a subscriber never renewed until the 5th, 6th, or 7th, renewal effort, why mail the first four? The cost of printing and mailing renewal efforts was expensive but necessary.
Our agency is deeply involved with funnel marketing on behalf of our clients. The strategy of generating a new customer or prospect lead and then nurturing that lead through any variety of touchpoints has fast become a marketing industry standard. It’s also the reason people like me (and you) are bombarded with offers for services. In my particular case it’s most often from lead generation companies! Along with a host of other business services. Like a giant snowball rolling down a mountain, the amount of offers from lead-generation companies in my inbox is increasing exponentially. One of the big reasons is the cheap or zero-cost of distribution when it comes to email communication.
Here’s one of the frustrating things, we all get it. It’s done this way because it WORKS! But it’s far from elegant since it’s all a numbers game. We all do our best to entice and maintain prospect interest through content and engagement that we feel will interest the targeted audience. Since you can’t capture and convert every single lead that comes into the funnel, the idea is to keep those that stay in the funnel interested enough to keep reading, maybe engaging and then hopefully converting from being a prospect to a customer. While that seems pretty easy in concept, in practice it’s more difficult to create and share continuing content that will be of interest to the target audience. While at times a marketing funnel can last days or a week or two, sometimes marketing funnels can last months, even years in order to convert a highly valued prospect.
More than twenty years ago the U.S. Postal Service recognized that email was eating its lunch (i.e. first class mail), so they conjured up the idea that everyone should have a USPS email address and that for marketers to reach that address there would be a per email distribution charge. Nice try but no cigar.
In my personal life I’d never approach family and friend relationships with quantity over quality. I think most people feel that way. However, in the professional world those holds are not barred, and message inundation and repetitive efforts have become the standard. I do think about overall recipient message fatigue, arguably making it even more difficult to cut through, creating MORE messages and MORE prospect touchpoint efforts.
To be clear, I am not advocating charging for electronic communication any more than is the case now. Yet on our own behalf we will continue to refine our approach to create a more streamlined and elegant approach to funnel marketing wherever and whenever possible. The future should yield fewer overall prospect messages and touchpoints, not more.
If things continue along the same route isn’t it inevitable that people (these would be those prospects!), will simply tune those messages out? Then what?