I have railed against clutter in the Advertising-Media Industry in the past. That more advertising isn't the solution. If the estimates of 50% of Ad Spend is wasted, spending more isn't a solution it is spending better. I have noticed over the years that every time a new medium emerges that enables advertising, the ad spend follows...in massive quantities. And that brings clutter. Clutter clouds out your message. People are bombarded with too much, while their ability to consumer and process advertising remains the same.
I use the term Lemmings to describe the rush into new media areas by everyone from so called 'experts' who claim to know stuff that is new even before enough time has passed to have an expert (like Social Media or Mobile Marketing today being still in their infancy), to the techies and VC who see money in building platforms, and the agencies who tell their clients they will lead them to the promised land...but only if they spend more money.
Recently I have done two crude studies on mobile marketing and social media using email as my reference point. And the studies were based on figuring out when the clutter emerges. When will people either start opting out or just deleting without paying attention or responding to the ads. We all have a myriad of news, causes, and businesses that we signed up for email from. Now we get so many that we get more opted-in spam mail than we get real mail from friends, family etc. I recently had to close a very old hotmail account I used for personal use since 1996 or so because it got corrupted on the hotmail server. So I am migrating to my gmail account. I am slowly noting as I add opted in requests for emails from businesses etc how many I am just deleting immediately upon signing in.
When someone tells me that Mobile or Social Media is the answer for Brands to reach consumers I ask very simple questions....don't these businesses already have massive email databases? Do they not know who is a customer and who is not? With everyone having websites why do they need a fan page when they have a fully enabled and interactive website? And why are Social or Mobile different?
I am in Mobile Marketing as a business, and I do honest objective consulting. Read my blog I do not coddle anyone. I do praise when something is done right, with class and value to the consumer. I have a collegiate mobile marketing service that refuses to save any students phone numbers, sell them to anyone else, or contact them later for future offers. My service requires the students actively participate for each campaign so that it is fresh to them each time. I reach the students directly in person with Brand Ambassadors who gives them something directly with the call to action. I can prove ROI through every step of the process.
How long will it be before all these Mobile Loyalty Campaigns become a negative return, where you are paying to host the campaign and send out the texts and get very little in return? Not because they aren't interested in your product or service, but because they are getting 10, 20, 50 texts per day because over time they kept opting in to future push advertising?
As for social media I use Tweet Deck for Twitter. It allows me to use 4 accounts at once which has increased my viewership of tweets from about 8% to now 10%. So only 9 of 10 Tweets do I never see now. And in my busiest account I have only 140 accounts I follow. I see people with hundreds even thousands! Try getting your advertising through that mess. As for Facebook I hate the interface but love the technology. I also hate the Management for being exploiters and abusers of the one thing that keeps them in business...their account base. When I log in there is always 300+ news feed updates and I only scroll through the first page of 25. So you can imagine what I am not seeing. So what if a Brand has 400,000 fans if only 2,000 are seeing any messages from the fan page?
Clutter Clutter Clutter.
One note for the benefit of the Brands on Social Media, though your social media agency and employees will hate me for this. Do you really know what is going on or are you being snowed? I know someone who does social media for a non-profit, and they get pitiful numbers of emails opened. When the report is sent to show how things are going, they brag about number of people on the email list, and number of emails sent...the open rate is omitted. When your told you have all these fans and followers do you really know the effectiveness? You really can't measure this. It is all guesstimating.
And guesstimating is ok. Most of Advertising ROI is based on it. It's honesty that is important.