Your Audience is Under Pressure, and Evolving

Jen Dodson

Chief Creative Officer

We’re bombarded with messages whether we realize it or not. My favorite assignment when teaching is asking the students to spend 24 hours attempting to count every marketing message they see. The products they use, the clothes friends wear, the car logos in the parking lot, the branding of their cellphone and the cell phone case, the logo on their sunglasses, the billboards, the street signs, the in-store promotional displays, the ad on the back of a magazine at the doctor’s office, the brochure for lawn care on their door, the product placement in a novel, the Nike swoosh in a muddy foot print, and the list goes on.

I didn’t even mention anything digital.

Most students lose track quickly and acknowledge how numb they’ve become to different messages. They write about how they’ve subconsciously learned to deal with each message in different ways.

A lot of this can be tied to the added pressures in the workplace, the constant presence of technology, and our society’s strive for more. And it doesn’t seem to be getting better. For every story of a company offering ways to get employees back to living (well done Zillow), there are countless others that seem to align with the message below.

As a result, many people have gone into survival mode. We’ve evolved our defense mechanisms to protect ourselves:

  • Avoidance – If we ignore something long enough, it will go away.
  • Skepticism – Too many things have been tried that didn’t work, this won’t be any different.
  • Being “Busy” – We’ve all used the excuse of being too busy. I’m not sure when this became an acceptable answer.  What we’re really saying is “I am not going to make this a priority.”
  • Distractions – You know the project that looms over your head. It’s not really that bad, but feels bad. Instead of working on it, we find other things to focus on.
  • Delegating – The joy of making it someone else’s problem, even though it often comes back to you.
  • Postponing – We make a lot of decisions each day. Sometimes the easy one feels too difficult with everything else going on. So we push it off until XYZ happens, and then again until the next thing.
  • Blaming – The calendar invite didn’t work. The internet went down. Email wasn’t working. Traffic.

If you deal with other people, you’ve been on the receiving end of these. You’ve learned from some of the best on how to evolve your defenses. As we learn from each other, getting a message through the clutter is harder.

Why isn’t your marketing evolving too?

While some major initiatives can be planned out in advance, the best marketing needs to be real-time. It needs to evolve with what’s going on around it. It needs to be dynamic and respond to different circumstances. It needs to align with sales and customer service efforts.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to evolve your business development efforts. There are many consultants with different backgrounds who could help. Make sure you find the one most likely to evolve with you and build a long-term partnership.