In a world that is exceedingly inundated by messages, it is, perhaps, time for businesses to think about whether we are over-communicating with our customers.
When email came to this land as a communication tool, we were hyper-happy to engage ourselves in email marketing because we could reach the maximum number of customers or potential customers with no cost or least cost. The practice still continues.
When text messages entered the market as another tool, we became obsessed with it. Initially, texting was an effective tool, but now text marketing has become synonymous with stress-evoking communication after all these years.
Many these days complain that they often receive four to five promotional texts from companies in a single day. We are now in an SMS-frenzy environment.
Ask any company’s IT inventory about how many messages it sends out every month. They will most likely not be able to confirm the number. They simply send them out because they think it is easy to promote their products and achieve their KPI (key performance indicator).
However, when the question of effectiveness arises and how the messages help maximise sales, there will be doubtful answers. Some companies try to analyse the data, but it does not deter them from sending too many text messages.
Texts matter regarding financial transactions, and customers are happy to receive them. There are signs in the market that they are picking up communication fatigue when they receive too many promotional messages.
In multiple cases, many companies are seen sending the same messages on multiple channels such as WhatsApp, Viber and Imo. It would be unwise to think that we are successful in making the customers see or read the message by doing so.
Over-communication can easily turn into noise, something that may annoy customers. This is the digital age and customers’ attention is precious. We often hear that people only have the patience to watch a video for 30 seconds in social media environments.
This author tried to find out whether any market research company or any agency has done any survey on communicating with customers in Bangladesh. There is hardly any. While running brand equity surveys for various companies, the agencies must remember to ask questions about over-communication.
One agency researched social media users’ feedback this year, but the survey was related to adverts. It found that nearly three out of four users (74 percent) thought there were too many ads on social media.
Among the adults (over 35 years), the proportion is 78 percent. Sixty-three percent of users said they only see a few things advertised repeatedly. Forty-four percent of users found the ads to be irrelevant to their needs. Among the aged 35 and older, it is 51.
Communication must be relevant and meaningful. Take telephone marketing, for example. The sellers of FDR, sea fish, internet, real estate etc., call indiscriminately, and they need to know when to call. You will find hundreds of people who have saved these numbers as ‘do not receive’.
The issue of over-communication needs to be taken seriously because it makes it difficult for the audience to track and remember, and ultimately, the businesses gain little or nothing.
The author is a communications professional