Marketing’s scope is no longer about spreading the net as far as possible. Instead, it has been focused and digital tools allow for this more precise approach. Better to know exactly who you’re talking to – and where to find them.
That principle has been refined yet further by a greater reliance on permission-based marketing. Legislation such as GDPR in Europe is putting an end to the data-as-currency approach to marketing.
If you want to talk to someone, you’d better be sure they are happy to be talked to.
Or, as Paul Gyles puts it, “One of the biggest challenges I have as a marketer is ensuring we stand up to any regulatory scrutiny in terms of who we are contacting. We have to make sure we are targeting the right people in the right place. That’s very important.”
It’s not just mass email mail-outs that are looking more unfocused and less useful. Marketers utilising other wide-reaching channels are considering their effectiveness.
For Rick Andrews, International CMO, Legg Mason Asset Management, narrowing that focus is key. “If there are, say, 100 asset managers in the UK and you’re a reasonably important intermediary, you’re going to get at least 100 emails a week, just from those asset managers.
“In my opinion, you haven’t got a hope in hell of reading nine tenths of those emails. We are flooding inboxes around the world with unwanted email. Email response rates are going down – some firms are even putting up barriers at the front door of their email system.
“Similarly, the broadcast medium will shortly have a big decline in activity. We need to be far more targeted. We can’t afford any wastage. We know who we want to talk to – why waste our time and energy on someone else?”
If permission-based marketing means finding a way for clients and prospects to ‘opt in’, suddenly the face-to-face aspect of marketing comes back into play.
“I think there will be a move back to more traditional contact methods,” says Rick, “carefully orchestrated with an ESG lens in mind. We’ve built this sort of digital wilderness where people just can’t consume the volume of activity that is being spent on them. And that means more opportunity to delight an audience with more traditional methods.”
The restrictions of permission-based marketing has prompted something of a return to traditional marketing values – that is, direct contact from client to customer. Companies that are able to present the human face of their services, bolstered by the targeting capabilities of digital tools, will thrive.