Minimize Distractions and Guide Your Audience

by Michael Sciano

posted on 12-05-2018

Hypothesis: The internet, as we know it today, is the single most distracting invention in the history of the world.

That’s probably not a hard hypothesis to prove as fact, I just don’t have time to do the research. See, I’m writing this blog, but also watching YouTube videos that my coworker sent, responding to a thread on Slack, and thinking of the perfect play in Words with Friends, so I can impress my sister-in-law.

Pretty sure it’s a shoo-in: this online, connected world is so distracting.

In fact, I just Googled “is the internet the most distracting invention ever” and another 25 minutes passed without coming back to writing this blog. I got lost in an article arguing that the internet “has destroyed our concentration and memory,” which led me to a mind-blowing research study (more below), proving my own hypothesis.

Your customers (and you) are distracted

As a digital marketer, you are trying to reach your customer with your message. Well, no duh! However, you not only want to grab my attention, you want to hold it and keep it for longer than a few seconds. You probably also want me to click through to your website or mobile app and have more engagement there. You might even need me to focus for five or ten minutes to complete the conversion.

That’s a big ask.

In 2016, dscout published a report all about our phone obsession. Do not click on that link yet! You will get lost in the insightful data of that report, like I did, and you won’t make it to the end of this blog!

Their study found that an average smartphone user has 2,617 interactions with their phone in a single day. Read that again: in one day, an average person types, taps, swipes, or scrolls 2,617 times a day! A power user can have more than 5,000 interactions per day!

Somewhere in those thousands of swipes and scrolls is your email or SMS or push notification.

Become an Experience Guide

At Adobe, we enable and encourage marketers to be Experience Makers. An essential part of any experience is, of course, making sure someone experiences it as intended — which means you need to not only become an Experience Maker, but also an Experience Guide.

As part of your marketing campaign development, you need to think through all aspects of the call to action and related goal(s), to ensure that you are leading your audience to the intended experience. The more channels you want to integrate, the more planning it will take to be successful.

Having worked with email marketers for over 10 years (and reviewing thousands of emails), there is no question that many emails are too distracting themselves. Many email marketers load up multiple calls to action in their emails — jamming every possible promotion, inventory item, event, or link into each email.

This sets up their email subscriber for distraction immediately.

We coach our email marketing clients to have very streamlined email marketing messages, with one overarching call to action (CTA) that not only stands out from all other links and CTAs, but is also personalized and relevant.

This holds true for other experiences you want to deliver.

What a guided experience looks like

When the digital marketer has thought through the experience they want to deliver, success is nearly guaranteed.

I recently bought a new-to-me 2016 Subaru Outback. My 2002 Outback had nearly 400,000 miles on it, so it was time to replace it. The entertainment features were not necessarily high priorities for me — things like the in-car computer system, DVD players, and satellite radio just weren’t top of mind. As a family of five, I need safety and functionality over entertainment.

Although it wasn’t a brand-new car, the satellite radio provider wants to acquire new customers. So, a day or two after my used car purchase, I got an email inviting me to initiate my 90-day free subscription to satellite radio. The email was very pointed and guided me to activation. It could have been filled with all the reasons (and links) as to why I should subscribe, and what content, stations, personalities, and music are all offered. Instead, it was straightforward: click to get started.

Here’s where it got interesting.

The one-click CTA took me to a landing page which asked me if I was in or near my car or at a computer. And, this is where the marketing team really invested thought and planning. Knowing that the best way (not the only way) to experience satellite radio is in your car, with your car on and the volume up, the CTA encouraged me to wait to set things up until I was in the car.

I happened to be at my work desk, on my computer, when I saw the email. I wasn’t near my car, so I took advantage of option B — text a keyword and receive an SMS back with a link to continue activation when I was in my car, ready to focus.

Later, when I was in the car, I took a minute to go back to the SMS, which led me to a mobile responsive landing page that initiated my trial subscription, presented a quick tutorial, and helped me find my preferred content in a flash.

It’s only been a few weeks, and I’m hooked. Through the trial period, I get emails educating me on how to get more value from the subscription.

Other multi-channel guided experiences

At Adobe Campaign, our customers have access to a customer journey management platform which allows them to use a wide range of data on their customers, build multichannel delivery workflows, and reach their customers across online and offline channels. It’s here where the marketer can think through, plan, and manage personalized customer journeys across channels.

Virgin Holidays found themselves using three different systems to power their marketing messages across channels. By adopting Adobe Campaign, they have centralized their messaging into one platform, delivering highly personalized and relevant experiences through multiple channels.

At the world’s busiest airport, Heathrow Airport in London, the Adobe Experience Cloud, including Adobe Campaign, is used to deliver multichannel experiences that are based on a visitor’s itinerary, behaviors, and digital activities across email, SMS, push and mobile apps, and more. Their success isn’t magic, though. Their success has come from plotting customer journeys, research, and planning to ensure they guide the right experiences, on the right channels.

Guide your subscriber

The moral of the story: don’t rely on your customer to complete the steps to conversion exactly the way you hope they do. Think through possible distractions and alternatives, and account for them in the experience. Ensure that you use the right mix — not just any mix — of cross-channel messaging, so that you reach your customer on the right channel, with the right content.

Now, go get distracted with that dscout report, or better yet, the wide-range of videos Adobe Campaign has on YouTube.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Campaign Management

Products: Campaign