In a MediaPost article titled “The Importance of Online Social Networking”, Tom Hespos says: “…corporate America still thinks, by and large, that ads need to be interruptive in order to be effective. How long will it be before these companies figure out that one doesn’t need to plaster the Internet with pop-up ads to be perceived as interruptive?” I wonder when they will realize that in the online world, and increasingly elsewhere, interruptive marketing is largely perceived to be offensive? (I couldn’t resist the picture, with the perfect title and everything! I thought it was a perfect analogy – your cat jumps up in front of your browser window and sticks his butt in your face…)
Jim Meskauskas (I think) coined the term “Flow Experience Marketing” (which is a little flowery for me, but still…) to describe how marketing can ‘get in the flow’ instead of interrupting all the time.
“The idea is that instead of creating an arresting experience with advertising full of a product’s and brand’s value propositions, you let products be part of an experience already being had. You let the product play the role of Robin rather than constantly casting it in the roll (sic) of Batman. The product or service becomes part of an experience and, thus, part of a user’s ‘background of everydayness.'”
To me, this is a crucial concept for marketers to internalize: don’t leach value out of the context you’re in (like TV ads do) – always add value (like Levi’s antidote, or Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of Buzz-oven). If you’re not adding value, you’re sticking your butt in your customers’ faces. Unless you’re in the porn industry (although sometimes it’s hard to tell), this is usually a bad thing. I know I’ve said it before, but I feel so strongly about this, I’ll say it again: buy the drinks. Your customers will make you part of the conversation just as surely as if you barge up to the table and shout “have I got a deal for you!”, only they’ll be saying nice things.