Aspects about Brand Marketing that Irritate Customers

“Too many promotions, pitiful attempts at humour and slang, and failing to respond to queries or criticism all irritate consumers and provoke them to un-follow brands,” – William Comcowich

The electronic ubiquity of the age we live in offers businesses and brands many methods to connect with customers. Marketing departments often use all the means at their disposal to pursue business development by reaching out to customers, potential clients, and members of the public through brochures, flyers, emails, online conversations, and social media marketing channels, among others. We must concede that this is the nature of business and marketing communication remains an important aspect of a business enterprise. However, an overwhelming surfeit of such marketing techniques can often irritate customers and may result in a communications overload that may defeat the original intent of creating such outreach campaigns.

Every brand (and brand owner) should remain aware that it is dealing with human customers and therefore, must respect the choices, preferences, and inclinations of each individual customer. For instance, a manufacturer of cosmetics and beauty products may launch a new line of lip colour in the market. The brand may augment the said event with a heavy marketing budget to broadcast the launch of the new product. These actions remain in consonance with standard commercial practices but must be tempered with good judgement and a sensitivity that weighs in customer preferences. The brand must take care not to irritate customers by using heavy marketing collateral, persistent marketing messages, and high pressure sales tactics. This approach should ideally extend to both online and offline selling channels. The brand or the brand owner must realise that respect for the customer’s sensitivities remains paramount and must not be overwhelmed by the dictates of commerce.

Social media channels have gained heavy traction in customers’ minds and lives in recent years and the potential for conducting business over social media channels has amplified significantly. Brands have realised this fact and have created dedicated marketing teams that conceptualise, craft, and execute marketing campaigns on social media. We note that the power of social media can be leveraged assiduously to boost business bottom lines but a persistent campaign may defeat the original purpose. Businesses need to bear in mind that social media is primarily hinges on the personal lives of its users and marketing should be conducted as a secondary activity so as not to irritate customers. In addition, brands that operate on social media need to remain credible because an excess of marketing promotion can invite a customer-driven backlash on social media, thereby leading to an erosion of brand image and a dilution of brand identity.

Brands that operate in brick-and-mortar locations should practice a certain level of corporate restraint and business discipline. This approach can help the brand to win the respect and confidence of its customers, create and sustain an enhanced brand identity, and steer clear of situations that irritate customers. For instance, a fast food business (also known as a quick service restaurant) can choose to enlighten visitors and customers through menus parked at its tables. We must note that this tactic draws customers to its business premises and assures them of a full meal at reasonable prices. Deal of the day and special offers can be set up at the points of sale to encourage customers to explore ordering options and combinations of food and drink. Clearly, the business wishes to set its customers at ease before they place their orders. In contrast, restaurants that employ high-pressure tactics may play loud music, send wait staff to customers’ tables, offer deals designed to benefit the business, among others. This approach may easily irritate customers and the sentiment may disturb the business prospects of the said establishment. We must note that the second set of marketing tactics outlined above is more likely to drive people away, while creating a negative public impression of the business enterprise.

Email marketing campaigns have come of age and may be said to possess heavy potential to irritate customers. We must note that most email-driven campaigns can be classified as unsolicited business communications that spark disdain from most recipients. When we examine the above statement, we must examine the exact reasons for such customer disdain and the diminishing returns on investment posted by such marketing campaigns. Email communications often tend to disregard the mood and the mind-set of the recipient; these emails are often directed to spam folders, thereby losing the import of the message. Further, marketing emails can irritate customers because these emails tend to distract people from their busy work lives and often bear little relevance to the tastes and preferences of the individual reader. In light of the above facts, modern corporate marketers must reassess the efficacy of emails as a means to promoting corporate messages.

Online presences – such as corporate websites – often deploy a variety of methods to extract information and opinion from visitors. For instance, the average website may present a feedback form designed to extricate information from the online visitor. Sometimes, the websites are engineered to offer a persistent message (or an on-screen balloon) that prompts visitors to engage in an online conversation with sales representatives or a chat-bot. In addition, the website may include a promotional offer in a bid to hawk its wares to visitors. We must note that these instances represent standard selling tactics but can easily irritate customers. The corporate organization must realise that online selling tactics are perfectly legitimate but not at the expense of destroying the end-user experience. Another aspect of such realisation should include the fact that a degraded visitor experience is likely to remove the prospect of closing an actual sale by discouraging further contact with the enterprise. Therefore, every business must actively invest thought and effort into removing the various roadblocks that have the potential to irritate customers.

Modern brands and their marketers have the option to push various business messages through the mobile apps installed on customers’ smartphones. General messages, push messages, repeat notifications, etc. can be construed as an active factor that promotes user dissatisfaction. We must note that mobile apps find heavy usage among modern consumers and therefore, represent a legitimate marketing channel. That said, brands and their marketers must remain careful so as not to mar the end-user experience because consumers may simply uninstall the app in an effort to block persistent marketing messages. Moreover, a brand should exercise a certain reticence in order to cut the possibility of creating an overdose of brand visibility. This situation can be detrimental to business because customers and consumers may get inured to the brand’s messages.

In the above paragraphs, we have surveyed some of the marketing techniques that irritate customers. These techniques are the outcome of corporate mandates that prize profits above all else. However, businesses that choose to stay invested over the long-term must invest in methods and techniques that promote the creation of enduring business value. To that end, businesses should create marketing paradigms that value the customer as a long-term business asset and as a robust business partner. This approach should help to humanise business thinking and marketing operations. It may also enable the average enterprise to attain greatness in time.


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