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Your Buyers Are Experiencing Marketing Fatigue; Here's What to Do About It

by Jim Brodo  |  
April 24, 2017

Two stories.

Story One. I was at a large tradeshow recently. There must have been close to 1,500 exhibitors. I walked around the exposition floor and somehow managed to have my badge scanned by 25 companies. I had little to no conversation with any of the booth staff, but they were pretty aggressive and scanned my badge.

The day after the conference I received 20, "Thank you for stopping by the booth, lets jump on call" emails. The same day, l also received 10 follow-up phone calls. Over the course of the next two weeks, I received 57 follow-up calls and 224 follow-up emails from those 25 companies, follow-ups like...

  • "Did you receive?"
  • "When can we connect?"
  • "Curious to know if you are interested?"
  • "I'm just circling back to my previous email?"
  • "I am keen on establishing a conversation?"

My list of such nonpersonal follow-up examples could go on forever. We all get them. We all delete them, but marketing today is playing a numbers games, so this type of correspondence will continue to grow.

Now, to add one more layer of complexity to story No. 1, I received another 110 emails from other companies that were exhibiting at the conference that I did not even visit. Somehow, they managed to find my email, maybe by testing out our email nomenclature or going through my website to get my email. So, my official scoreboard of inbound communications from that one single tradeshow so far has been 411 follow-ups.

Story Two. I was doing some research for a new SaaS-based business simulation that my company is developing. I needed to better understand some of the business models, financial results, and challenges in the industry; so, as part of my secondary research I downloaded five whitepapers from five companies that I found as a result of a Google search. What happened next was astounding.

Literally within two minutes of downloading, I received an email from all five companies. Within five minutes of the download, I received four phone calls. I did not even have the chance to look at any of the articles or whitepapers before I was inundated with follow-up communications.

Within two weeks of downloading, I received an additional 42 follow-up emails and 17 phone calls. The scorecard from downloading five articles was 68 new inbound communications.

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Jim Brodo is chief marketing officer at Advantexe Learning Solutions, which uses computer-based business simulations for training and performance improvement.

LinkedIn: Jim Brodo

Twitter: @jimbrodo


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  • by Neil Mahoney Mon Apr 24, 2017 via web

    Trade Shows used to be a cooperative effort between MarComm & Sales. Looks like inquiry-gathering has become more important than making the sale or identifying qualified prospects.

  • by Matthew Theis Mon Apr 24, 2017 via web

    Jim--excellent piece. I can especially relate to your last story about the sales person who wasn't expecting to reach you and thus wasn't prepared to have a meaningful conversation. Marketing has confused the purpose of white papers and other related materials. Just because some one has downloaded the content doesn't mean they are ready to buy.

  • by Carlos Hidalgo Mon Apr 24, 2017 via web


    Thanks for the article and I do agree that buyers are experiencing marketing fatigue, but let's be more specific in that they are fatigued from bad marketing which takes up a majority of what they receive. What makes it bad? It is not customer centric. From emails, to campaigns, to content, it is rare to truly see an organization take it from a customer-centric viewpoint and that is why many are seeing a decrease in success.

    Changing KPIs, altering the cadence of outreach and nurture will not move the needle much either. When programs are based from a customer-in perspective, rather than a vendor-out perspective, the cadence and nurture becomes dependent on the buyers interactions and behavior. When we align on the customer, we look to measure impact to pipeline and revenue.

    While I do appreciate your insights, I believe the one way B2B organizations can help their buyers from fatigue, it first take the time to develop the insights on the buyers and create content and programs that resonate and align with their buying cycle.

  • by Cindy Mullen Mon Apr 24, 2017 via mobile

    Thank you for such an amazing and relevant article. I start my day trying to find new clients and end the same way. I am crazy passionate about my work and want so much to share that with prospects. It is hard to know the line between useful product information and annoying sales lady.

  • by Rob Marsh Tue Apr 25, 2017 via web

    While you make a good point, Jim, in both of the examples you cite above, you got into marketing funnels for products that you are not interested in buying. Trade show exhibitors can be over the top, but it's not that difficult to refuse to have your badge scanned (unless you really want to win that drone or get the free t-shirt).

    I'd be more concerned about how these funnels affect interested customers. If they're turned off by the number of contacts or the message of the marketing, then yes, companies should re-evaluate. My guess is that if you were interested in the products or services being marketed, you would find the communications less intrusive and possibly engaging.

    No doubt, a lot of people get into funnels they don't belong in. Maybe as marketers we need to get better at screening them out early in the process to avoid annoying non-buyers.

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