Digital marketing. How much is too much?

Iain McInnes
Iain McInnes

For most fenestration businesses, digital marketing has become a go-to approach. Iain McInnes, founder of WeBuildBrands, asks whether this surging popularity has led to a growing sense of overexposure, causing digital marketing to become a victim of its own success?

Great marketing has always been something of an art rather than an exact science.

However, with the shift from an analogue to an increasingly digital world, marketing has arguably become more exact than ever before.

Marketing’s holy grail has always been to accurately measure its ROI in terms of customer engagement, brand reach, increased loyalty and ultimately, greater sales.

Digital marketing can readily provide many of these metrics and so it’s not hard to understand why it’s become a preferred choice for business owners and marketeers alike.

But therein lies the problem.

Subject matter experts, like Harvard Business Review, list digital overload caused by the abundance of digital communications we all receive on a daily basis as one of the defining problems of the modern workplace.

Research has shown that, in the United States alone, knowledge workers waste 25% of their time dealing with their huge and growing data streams. This inadvertently wasted time, effort and attention costs the US economy $997BN a year.

Hardly surprising then that there is a huge growth in people across all ages, occupations and strata of society embracing concepts such as device divorce and digital detox in order to refocus and regain some of their productivity.

They are consciously choosing to disconnect from their tech in favour of interacting with the world around them on their own terms and in real life ­– not through a screen.

Delete. Delete. Unsubscribe.

Aside from increased measurability, digital marketing often offers another major attraction – ease of use.

Email marketing serves as a prime example.

Thanks to a multitude of different platforms on the market, it’s now easier than ever for anyone to put together and send out an emailer campaign.

But just because you can, does it mean you should?

According to statistics, there are around 269 billion emails sent every single day – that equates to around 149,513 emails a minute. The average office worker has to wade through 121 business-related emails during their nine-to-five and 55% of people agree that dealing with emails prevents them from doing their primary job.

Unless executed in an expert and considered way, your email marketing campaign only serves to add to this clutter. It becomes little more than noise and about as welcome an interruption as pop-up ads were on websites in the noughties.

Interestingly, in 2016, Google announced ranking penalties for websites that used intrusive interstitials, such as pop-ups, potentially contributing to their decline.

Fast forward eight years and Google has confirmed it is to implement stricter requirements for the delivery of email marketing to Gmail accounts from the 1 February 2024 to ensure users enjoy a safer and less spammy inbox. Yahoo is also doing the same.

Is history set to repeat itself?

Horses for courses

Not for one second are we detracting from the importance and power of digital marketing. As a marketing partner that offers full-service, holistic solutions to our clients’ needs, our support covers all the touchpoints of their customer’s buying journey – both on and offline.

What we are advocating however is the need to consider not only what your marketing messages are, but also how you relay them. Is an electronic method of delivery the best option because it’s low cost and easy, even if the ROI isn’t great?

Or is an analogue solution like a well crafted, well executed printed piece of collateral – whether that’s a brochure, direct mail piece or newsletter – going to give you more standout, increased audience engagement and better results, even if you can’t measure them as easily?

As I mentioned earlier, marketing is more of an art than an exact science.

And part of that art is knowing what approaches to combine, how and when.