April 3, 2013

Is the always on culture turning off?

Written By Martin Sandhu

As we celebrate 40 years of the mobile phone and the advances in digital marketing that have come with it, it seems consumers may be over the ‘boom’ period and growing tired of the ‘always on’ culture it’s brought.

That culture has no doubt had dramatic implications for marketers, giving them an unprecedented opportunity to find and communicate with their target market instantly, as well as seeing their honest and open opinions in a public forum. But it’s also turned the nation into workaholics and it is seen for many to be a source of increased stress. According to Healthday, smartphones produce “a relentless need to immediately review and respond to each and every incoming message, alert or bing.

We’re certainly not saying that everyone is about to put their smartphones in the bin and revert back to simply using a mobile to text and call on the go, but many people are taking breaks from their phones or using them much less than they used too.

In 2008 60% of women and 54% of men said they liked to be available 24/7 via their mobile. According to research from the Future Foundation, in 2013 those figures have fallen to 44% of women and 32% of men. Furthermore A survey by Social Vibes late last year found that a third of internet users have cut social media ties with a brand because they were receiving too many updates…unfortunately this only highlights the very fine line brands tread between posting too much and posting too little.

Though it may not sound like the best news for digital marketing, it’s no bad thing. It simply requires a shift in focus and an understanding that less is becoming more. Email marketing and ‘daily deals’ companies are a great example; when the likes of Groupon first came about opening up an email everyday to find out what deals were available was exciting. Now there seems to be at least 10 emails from different companies every morning and we’re sure we’re not alone in just sending them straight to the trash! The same goes for social media, content marketing and web design. As many users start to fall out with social networking and personal updates become less frequent, it’s easy for feeds to become awash with brand messaging only, perpetuating the circle.

Although it’s still true to say that many consumers find the range of choice, data and information available empowering, an increasing number are finding it overbearing. Embracing simplicity is key, focus on a strong message which speaks directly to your consumer, rather than a tranche of information.