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How to Avoid Brand Fatigue in Digital Marketing

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Research has shown that messages are more effective when they’re repeated—and in marketing circles, the widely-used Rule of Seven is the notion that a prospect needs to see or hear a marketing message at least seven times to take action and buy. But too much of good thing can actually be a bad idea because it often leads to what we call “brand fatigue.”

When this sets in, a customer becomes bored (or worse, annoyed) with a brand because they’re bombarded with too many promotional messages at once. Need proof? The stats speak for themselves: a 2016 survey found that 46% of respondents unfollowed brands for posting too many promotional messages, 41% unfollowed because of irrelevant information, and almost 35% unfollowed brands that tweeted too much.

A promotional campaign will naturally involve a range of activities such as social posts, emails, content syndication, and ads that need to get in front of your audience. However, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you're getting your brand out in front of these prospects without annoying them or turning them away from your products.

Regularly Review Your Campaign Performance and A/B Test to Continue Updating Your Strategy

A tell-tale sign that brand fatigue has set in is when you start to notice your engagement rates slowly dropping the further into a campaign you get. One great way of preventing brand fatigue is to look into the past performance of your marketing channels and promotional tactics to identify where engagement rates for previous campaigns began to lag. For instance, you might discover that you’re sending out emails too frequently, or not enough. Once you’ve completed this assessment, you can determine the right promotional mix to meet your marketing objectives. A weekly, monthly or quarterly evaluation of your promotional activities is a sure-fire way to maintain an effective schedule and brand fatigue strategy.

Work to Get Closer to Your Audience

Another method for preventing brand fatigue is to work with a set of three to five marketing personas that you know your product resonates with. Use these personas to tailor your messages and build a relationship with your audience. For Spotify's "Thanks 2016, It’s Been Weird" campaign, they used personas and data insights to craft fun, humorous, hyper-local messages across 14 different markets. Besides using billboard advertising, online advertising, customers were also sent emails that included stats around their own Spotify usage. By knowing their target audience, the streaming service was able to execute a campaign that was relatable, relevant, and memorable—without turning customers away.

Customize Messaging for Each of Your Marketing Channels and Platforms

By definition, brand fatigue is caused by excessive repetition—and if your customer repeatedly sees the same messages in the same way, your brand can soon fade into the background. This is where a strong content marketing strategy can help. By creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract your audience, you can guide them along the buying journey until they convert.

For example, software company Adobe likes to keep their social platforms as distinctive as possible by using a range of creative content. On Instagram, it uses strong, graphic images to appeal to a target audience of artists, designers, and photographers. In contrast, their Facebook channel is more informational and educational—comprising mostly of videos and blog posts. Content is re-promoted on their Twitter account, but often a few days later to pace their messaging and avoid brand fatigue. As long as you create fresh, valuable, and unique content that keeps your channels in mind you’ll certainly attract the right audiences to your site.

Rotate Ad Creative by Using Several Variations

Facebook recommends its business customers should refresh their creative every 1-2 weeks for optimal ad performance. This is great advice and can be applied to any digital advertising strategy where the target audience is likely to be exposed to the same ads repeatedly. By keeping up with a healthy rotation, you can achieve the best ROI, increase your click-through rates, and avoid brand fatigue. You’ll also be able to test which creative prompts the most engagement and optimize your campaigns from there.

Include Your Marketing Objectives in Your Promotional Schedule

Your promotional schedule should be a timeline of all your activities, but it should also show how they align to your marketing objectives—specifically the metrics your team uses to determine the success of campaigns. This way, you’re placing strategy at the heart of your plan. The format of a promotional schedule will vary from business to business but it should generally include:

  • An outline of each quarter (split across sheets)
  • Holidays and seasonal events relevant to your business
  • The start and end dates of your promotional activities
  • A timetable and outline of social media posts, ads, and content (i.e. blog posts)
  • Columns for KPIs (i.e. Conversion rate, visits)

Put these five steps into action, and your current and prospective customers won’t feel bombarded by your activities. If anything, they’ll likely have a more positive perception of your brand and happily welcome your marketing efforts.

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