Forrester: Marketers Should Talk Less, Design More

Tablet-in-Use-A.A new report from Forrester says that while marketers may be increasingly proficient at reaching out to consumers through new technologies including social and mobile, they need to figure out how to talk less and design more.

While overwhelming consumers with chatter is already a problem, with 53% of online adults already saying they’re annoyed by the amount of advertising they see and 37% saying that they would rather not be contacted frequently by brands, marketer blabbing is about to explode. 

In the near future, writes Forrester analyst Anthony Mullen, just about everything will be digital -- from wearables to wine labels. “Forget about the third screen,” he writes in the report, based on interviews with such vendor companies as Adobe, Microsoft, and SapientNitro. Between falling price points and new technology, which already has 85% of tablet owners using them while watching TV, “eventually, you can expect displays painted on any surface; Microsoft, Philips, and Samsung are all testing nanotech paint to create ad hoc displays.”

In order to be heard amid all that noise, marketers will need to cut spending on paid advertising, and instead funnel it into innovation, consumer insights, and “adjacent practices, such as customer experience, analytics, IT, and product design.”

It doesn’t help that marketing execs don’t think they are up to the challenge of managing across multiple platforms and devices. Less than half -- 46% -- believe their people have the skills to handle digital disruption. Just 36% believe they have policies that will allow them to adapt.

As a result, he writes that four key premises will govern marketing success:

* Design is the new marketing, including the architecture of interaction, game experiences, and products

* Value is the currency. “Brands have to be remarkable, unmistakable, trusted, and essential to stand out in this new environment,” he writes, providing “value that is both obvious and in keeping with a focused brand promise.”

* Software agents become mediators. Because consumers aren’t willing to have significant relationships with thousands of brands, they will choose mediators that support their lifestyles. Those companies will decide which brands are acceptable. For example, “neither DC Comics nor Marvel dominates the online comic reading space,” he writes. “The aggregator ComiXology delivers more than 75 million comic books via its reader.” Amazon, which aggregates shopping, is another example. 

* People regulate brand relationships, not brands. And those that violate either privacy or trust are likely to be shut out entirely.

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