Marketing’s Missing Centre
In the previous series, I wrote about how marketing is getting disrupted and what it will take to simplify it. I ended with the recommendation: “Make attention the new acquisition, and rewards the new experience.” In this series, I will delve deeper into what I think of as marketing’s missing centre.
Digital marketers find themselves trapped between new customer acquisition and re-acquisition of those whom they lose. The supply of new customers is not infinite – after a time, there are diminishing returns in acquiring new customers whose spending potential is low. And yet, for the business to show growth, they need to keep new customers coming in. Where do they find such customers? From their own pool of lost or dormant customers! This leads to what I call the “doom loop” of spending: customers get acquired, some of them become inactive, they are then re-acquired, some among them become inactive again, and they are re-re-acquired.
Google, Facebook, and increasingly Amazon, have created huge advertising platforms for driving customer acquisition. In a world flush with investor capital, digital first businesses are channelling huge monies to this troika for customer acquisition. My anecdotal conversations suggest that more than half of the capital raised from VCs, PE and IPOs gets spent on revenue generation with 80-90% being spent on Google, Facebook and Amazon. Traditional businesses seeking to build digital extensions are also compelled to join this spending frenzy with their profits in the search for customers.
The marketing triangle’s three vertices are new customer acquisition and re-acquisition (adtech, where 90% of the budget is consumed), the transactional messages sent via communications platforms (CPaaS, or communications platform as a service), and martech platforms focused on improving customer engagement on their owned properties (websites and apps). The missing centre is the world of “Attention Messaging” – a cross between attention marketing and push messaging. This is the world marketers pay least attention to leading to businesses sacrificing a big chunk of revenues and profits.
There are only two ways that existing customers will come back to a brand property (website or app) for transactions: either the brand pull is very strong, or push messages have to have compelling content for customers to click through. Without mental availability of the brand and missing attention to incoming messages, customers are not coming back. These lost customers then have to get reacquired via ads on platforms where they are present – via Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Attention Messaging is the glue that connects adtech, CPaaS and martech together to build – it is the missing centre in marketing. Without doing Attention Marketing right, businesses have little hope of building persistent profitability. Just as customers ignore most marketing messages, marketers too have not focused on getting attention of customers. Whether the problem is attention deficit, attention recession or information overload, the solution is the same – Attention Messaging needs to be done right.