box of chocolates
PHOTO: shutterstock

“I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” — Forrest Gump 

Allow me to paraphrase the pride of Greenbow, Alabama’s words to speak for the entire world whose occupation is NOT in marketing: “I’m not a marketer, but I know what consumers want.”

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Yes, another Gump-ism but an apropos one after reading the most-recent headline which illustrates what I believe is the most egregious act any brand can commit: "UK consumers are frustrated by irrelevant marketing from brands."

The headline was in reference to a study which revealed that over “three quarters of UK consumers are frustrated by receiving marketing and communications that are not relevant to them.”

Hold on one second, I need to check what year it is.

OK, it is in fact 2020. For a second there I thought we were caught in a time warp and we were collectively sent back to 1999.

Where was I?

Oh yeah … what in the name of John Q. Data is going on here? How in the world can we still be dealing with this nonsense? And by we, I mean all of us, for we are all consumers.

Nearly six years ago I wrote a piece for Forbes entitled — are you ready for this — “The Nine Letter Word Every Marketer Needs To Remember At All Times.” Care to guess the word in question?

I will give you a hint by quoting myself (is that legal?), with the word in question removed: “In case any marketers and advertisers forgot, the word xxxxxxxxx is an adjective meaning having direct bearing on the matter in hand; pertinent.”

Related Article: 'Spray & Pray' Must Go Away: Why Marketing Needs to Get Surgical

Survey Says

I’ll give you another hint: The word rhymes with “schmelevance.”

More from the study: “They (consumers) expect relevance (ding, ding, ding), with two thirds (66%) frustrated when they receive a communication from a brand about something they have already bought.”

I’ll pose the same question: What in the name of John Q. Data is going on here? In the age of data gone wild, with so many marketing technology (martech) options available to brands, there is absolutely, positively no reason whatsoever to send either irrelevant messaging or messaging related to something already purchased. Ever.

So, the question is why is still happening?

Well I just gave you one reason why: marketers are not using the right tools. For whatever reason, be it ignorance or stubbornness or frugality or simply because they’ve adopted the classic “we’re still hitting their numbers so everything must be fine” approach.

Related Article: How to Capture an 8-Second Attention Span: Be Relevant

Another Reason? Laziness

Allow me to introduce another reason why this seemingly inexplicable act keeps occurring: Laziness.

You remember “lazy” – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous.

Hey, we all get lazy from time to time, right? We’re only human. But, before the day comes that machines and AI take over the world, we humans need to fight through the laziness. This is especially true for the marketers of the world.

Of course being lazy is just an excuse for not doing your job, isn’t it? You know full well — at least you should, otherwise you need to find a new career — that consumers do not want to receive pretty much anything that is not germane to them as individuals.

Moreover, you know full well that consumers are smart and savvy enough to know that marketers have all the data they need to deliver messaging that is relevant to the end user.

In August of last year I wrote another Forbes post, this one entitled “Why Don’t Marketers Give Consumers What They Want?” Care to guess what that one’s about? It’s not about a new car, although I bet many consumers would want that from a brand. No, it’s about taking all that great info aka data they have on consumers and delivering a personalized (relevant) experience.

So while life may in fact be like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get — when it comes to consumers and marketing, consumers expect marketers to know if they’re a coconut cream kind of person or a caramel. In other words, consumers KNOW marketers have data on them so they EXPECT to be marketed to on a highly personalized level.