Gartner: Drop your digital "spam model" and embrace two-way engagement

5th Apr 2011

With the days of mass marketing well and truly over, organisations must start using digital channels to promote two-way engagement with customers if they want to increase response and conversion rates, Gartner has warned.

Although marketers may have been using digital channels as part of their campaign management strategies for the last decade or more, the majority are still employing them in traditional interruptive push, mass-market-based, one-directional ways that focus on hard selling. But this approach is no longer working.

Adam Sarner, a research director at Gartner, said: "Mass marketing is no longer a long-term strategy. Mass marketing campaigns have a 2% response rate and are on the decline, whereas by 2015, digital strategies such as social and mobile marketing will influence at least 80% of consumers’ discretionary spending."

While most marketers were using more than one digital channel today, their approach was "often no different from a spam model", where success was driven by high volumes and attempting to make a profit from almost everyone who accepted a promotional offer. "Just using digital channels is not the answer," he added.

Instead marketers needed to shift towards creating two-way conversations with their customers and come up with mutually beneficial approaches to catering to their requirements.

The answer lay in employing digital marketing techniques such as addressable branding and advertising and using contextual, social and transactional messaging via channels ranging from email and video to interactive TV, digital signage and mobile and social applications.

"Digital marketing represents a shift in strategy and approach, not just in channels," Sarner said. "Although traditional campaign management thinking involves executing campaigns directly to the customer, successful digital marketing must act more as a mutually beneficial journey aimed at satisfying customers’ wants and needs."

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