From social media to retargeting ads, marketers continue to add new communication channels, and with each one we add the ability to sell but we also increase our ability to annoy.
For example, ask anyone, "What annoys you about technology?" You'll undoubtedly get a quick answer. Ask the same person why they find such things annoying, and the answer will not be as clear. Slow Internet connections, repetitive Facebook ads, auto-correct, a portable thumb-drive's inability to plug in the first try... these things annoy us, but why?
If we are going to be effective at our jobs, we need to figure out how to increase our chances of converting a sale while minimizing the level of annoyance we inflict in an era of countless digital distractions and information overload.
Accordingly, marketers should understand the fundamental causes of annoyance.
Fundamental Annoyance No. 1: Norm Violation, AKA Minor Injustices
Norm violations are actions that are not targeted at you personally, but they violate certain standards that you may have. As NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman, multimedia editor for NPR's Science Friday, point out, norm violations are actions that conflict with our value systems or "destroy a reasonable expectation."
Today, our growing reliance on technology means that we have developed certain expectations, and we get frustrated easily with technology when those expectations are not met. In June 2012, the Blogworld & New Media Expo was held at the Javits Center in New York City. Blogworld was a very well-organized and well-attended conference, and the people who put it on did a fantastic job. The problem, however, was their choice of location. The basement of the Javits Center is a concrete maze with very little Wi-Fi. Obviously, if you get enough bloggers into a large enough space and restrict their access to Wi-Fi, people are going to get annoyed—particularly if you don't meet their expectation of fast Internet.
As attendees of the conference write:
Gavin Jocius is the marketing director for Canvas on Demand, a leader in photo-to-canvas printing. He is also the author of The Age of Annoyance: Managing Our Frustrations With Information Overload.