One of the top market drivers for Hybrid Experience is “digital fatigue.” This takes various forms. Generally, it’s no secret that many aspects of our lives, especially our work lives, look drastically different than they did two years ago. According to a recent Gartner report, more than half (51 percent) of all knowledge workers around the world are working remotely. Simultaneously, a steady stream of business email, personal emails, text messages, and social media channels are all vying for our attention.
For many, the lack of separation between work life and home life has contributed to this phenomenon, known as digital fatigue, which is generally defined as “the state of mental exhaustion brought on by the excessive and concurrent use of multiple digital tools, such as apps and screens.”
One of the results of digital fatigue is that people no longer have patience for generic marketing
One of the results of digital fatigue is that people no longer have patience for generic marketing—and, I would add, more specifically, at least for me, faux-personalized email prospecting.
Some of the leading digital companies on the planet are endeavoring to help marketing teams deliver, what they call, “exceptional experiences at every stage of the customer journey.” Quite rightly, these companies understand that everyone today expects a personalized experience when interacting with a company.
But, when you think about it, these “exceptional experiences” only contribute even more to the deluge of digital detritus foisted on unwelcoming recipients. I’m sure these martech companies mean well and will get somewhat better at personalization—at least something better than “Dear [YOUR NAME HERE].”
So, what is the current state of these exceptional experiences in the email-prospecting space? Well, if what fills my mailbox every day is any indication, it’s not good. Not good at all.
Hope you’re well.
I’m wondering if you’ve had a chance to look at [COMPANY I NEVER HEARD OF]? We help companies [BLAH BLAH].
If you want to see what it can do for your organization, we’re here to give you a short demo whenever you’re ready. Just send me a time that suits you or book using this link.
All the best!
Um, not going to happen. But thanks for asking about my wellness.
Then there is this pip. The top email is the more recent one; the bottom one was sent months ago. Just for clarity’s sake, in case you didn’t notice the byline, my name is Tim:
Do you have a few minutes on the calendar Friday or Monday?
Sure I do. What’s it to ya?
Since you’re involved in marketing, I wanted to see if you would be open to chatting? [COMPANY I NEVER HEARD OF] works with marketing teams to [BLAH BLAH].
Would you be open to chatting sometime this week?
Sorry, friend, I am way too involved in marketing to take the time to meet with whoever you are.
These are just two examples of the dozens of emails like this that I get every week. I am sure you receive them too and, like me, shoot them to the trash once you start reading—even if you read them at all.
Finally, there’s this one. At least he got the name right, but the tone is kind of testy and pushy, and the service he is offering is not even one I would have interest in or aegis over.
In case you missed it, I tried to get in touch with you several weeks ago to check if there is a fit between PFL.com and [COMPANY I NEVER HEARD OF].
I have researched PFL.com and sent some emails, so please let me know if there is something else I can do to get a response. I’m sure that [COMPANY I NEVER HEARD] can be a game-changer for you and your team at PFL.com. We are [LOTS OF BLAH BLAH BLAH DETAIL OF ZERO INTEREST].
Although it is hard to find free time slots these days, can we have a quick chat so you can at least understand why I am so persistent?
Thanks in advance,
Friend, the last thing I want to understand is why you are so persistent. Fact is, I know why you are so persistent—what I don’t understand is how you can be purposelessly and annoyingly persistent.
Finally, I just received this one today, as I was finishing this up:
There is a fine line between being a pest and showing professional persistence. My goal is to show the latter and to add value in any conversation we have. That said, I have emailed over the last few weeks and have not been able to reach you.
Marketer: Fine line breached. Pest, it is.
Show Some Care
These kinds of prospecting emails have been going out, unread and unresponded to, for decades.
Clearly, something must be done, and the answer could be modern hybrid experiences that turn direct mail into a sophisticated, valuable marketing tactic—one that helps marketers use prospect and customer understanding to frame, guide, and enhance interactions based on that person’s history, preferences, context, and intent. The flexibility to measure and optimize performance and orchestrate direct mail with other marketing touchpoints unlocks more effective and impactful engagements.
In sum, hybrid experiences give marketers the power to align physical mail with digital touchpoints to create personalized, scalable, and well-orchestrated marketing experiences. To get there, marketers require solutions that:
- Integrate into existing solutions and workflows. Fitting easily into the marketing stack, including CRM and marketing automation tools, enables the execution, orchestration, and optimization needed to deliver successful direct mail campaigns.
- Generate digital breadcrumbs for measurement and attribution. Tools that capture engagement and use performance data help brands connect the dots across the buying cycle.
- Allow marketers to focus on strategy. Automating execution lets marketers focus less on production and mailing concerns, and more on creating highly engaging marketing experiences.
Today, B2B marketers have more digital means and opportunities to engage their customers than ever before, but few use these to create the right impact. Indeed, marketers’ overuse of digital touchpoints has trained buyers to duck and cover when business development reps and marketers reach out, rather than lean in and engage.
Customers Are Precious
Instead of treating customers like the precious commodities they are, marketers often view them as cheap, exploitable resources, leading to a customer attention deficit and digital fatigue. Physical mail lets marketers break through all that with engaging analog experiences, especially when delivered via hybrid experiences that blend the engagement of physical mail with the measurability and orchestration of digital tactics.
In sum, the current state of marketing suggests that digital fatigue should drive marketers to increase their spending on direct mail. Analog direct mail experiences help brands stand out from overused digital touchpoints, leading to increased marketer investment.
Strategies Must Evolve
Strategies must evolve with the channel. Many marketers don’t recognize the availability or value of modern hybrid platforms that marry the best of digital and physical and make direct mail even more effective.
But never forget—as illustrated above—personalization is a critical component of modern direct mail. Getting it wrong, as with digital mail, harms the business more so than doing nothing. Hybrid experiences are the solution to making direct mail more engaging and measurable.
In the end, what is really at issue here is “care.” Sending me what you believe is a chatty, chummy, clever invite to get in touch with you to talk about something I probably am not interested in shows you care not the least about me nor my time. It cost you almost nothing in dollars and merely nanoseconds of your time to have it sent to me.
The hybrid experience is the opposite of that. Buyers today have limited attention, making it harder than ever for marketers to connect with customers and prospects. What’s more, the rush to digitization arising from the pandemic has accelerated digital burnout, rather than slowing it. Many of today’s marketers realize these forces are at play and see physical mail as a key tactic that can help them navigate this trend.
Recent research conducted by Forrester for PFL shows that marketers recognize the engagement potential of direct mail, as 81 percent admitted they personally are “very likely to open a package they receive for work.” Whether they know it or not, the recipients do so because it shows somebody took the time to care.