Double exposure business people in working environment

Is digital marketing getting harder? Are the tactics from yesterday getting tired? Maybe consumers are getting overloaded?

I believe that all of the above is true.

What worked in digital 6-9 months ago may not longer be working today and I have no doubt that consumers are getting content fatigue. Everybody is posting content now and then waiting for the “Likes” , shares, traffic and leads to start rolling in. Guess what they are not just rolling in. Digital didn’t just get hard overnight, it took the tens of thousands of small businesses to finally realise that content marketing was in fact real and then try and use every tactic,platform, tool and plugin to push out as much content as they could as fast as they could.


There is so much content now being pushed at us from every angle it is hard to see the wood for the trees. For example, every time I login to LinkedIn now I get notifications from people that have “published” some content. 9/10 what they have “published” is not useful, or valuable to me and worse It is rarely relevant nor targeted. It is a sales pitch of some kind or a update about themselves. This is not what the platform was meant for and now means I use LinkedIn far less as it is now full of spam.

Gary Vaynerchuk said this best when he said “marketers ruin everything”. Every social network now is becoming less social and more promotional as more and more “marketers” spam the crap out of each and every network.

Even if you have useful and valuable content today getting it heard and seen is far harder than before. Consumers are getting smarter at navigating all of the promotional posts and adverts by skimming through news feeds scanning for the odd bit of useful or entertaining information.

Social Networks

Social networks are becoming less social every day. With more and more companies evading social networks each and everyday, it is no wonder that new networks are appearing. We are already spreading our attention and time across multiple networks and this is likely to continue as we find new havens to spend time in before the business masses and our parents find them out and come along and spoil the landscape. To be fair Facebook have done their best to control the newsfeed with the EdgeRank algorithm however I recently saw in a blogging group people proposing steps to navigate this by not just trading “Likes” of “Likes” but by then commenting and “Liking” posts to ensure their awful promotional blog posts get into each others feeds.

The worst part was the amount of people who were all participating in these tactics and then sharing other tactics to try and force their way into other peoples news feeds.

Interruption based selling

Despite all the innovation in technology and new platforms and better ways to connect, inspire and communicate with our audience, too many people want to find a short-cut and interrupt anyone in whatever they are doing to shove an advert in their face. I simply cannot understand why a brand would want to risk their name and relationship with consumers by stopping them doing what they want to do and shove an advert over the top or worse force them to watch before they can get back to what they were actually doing. I take mental notes about companies that do this and then ensure I don’t ever use them based on this. Many bad marketers today do not want to do the work and put the effort into building and nurturing relationships and instead are prepared to pay to shout louder than their competitors. Does this work? It cannot do surely? No wonder their are ad-blockers on the rise (although they are just as bad accepting money to white-list adverts). Our experience of the internet is getting worse it seems.

That’s not the whole picture to be fair

The other side of the coin is the fact that social networks and publishers want and need to be paid. I will agree that we have created a culture where we expect everything to be free. I personally do not mind the pre-roll adverts on YouTube as long as I can skip them. I do not mind Tv adverts as long as I can fast forward them. This can and will go on for some years yet but at some point nobody will advertise if nobody is viewing them. I may be the exception and most people view these adverts? I somehow do not think so.

So how do publishers get paid if we don’t want adverts? Well YouTube Red is a paid service that removes ads and gives you premium content. This seems like a good idea to me, if the price is reasonable I would consider that for the both the ad free experience and the exclusive content. I do not have all the answers when it comes to monetising the content industry but I do know we need a new plan.

Will the cream rise to the top?

So how will we get our content out into the world and in front of people that will find it useful and valuable? I do hope that the very best content will rise to the top and outshine the masses of awful promotional content that is out there. I hope the social networks keep working at removing these promotional posts unless they are relevant and targeted. It will be a really hard battle though as there are too many lazy people looking to game the system and get find ways to take a perceived short-cut.

Digital is hard, you have to show up often and keep adapting and evolving. Keeping up to date and finding new ways to engage an audience is not easy but has to be done. Treat every email subscriber like a valued customer as they are un-subscribing the moment you are no longer relevant or useful. Our inbox’s are already overcrowded with hundreds of people demanding our attention, so do not abuse that connection or trust and value every connection you have.

Is digital marketing getting harder? You bet!