Part One: Marketing Measurement and Pissing People Off

You know the line “you manage what you measure”. So do you consider what matters but is not measured? As digital marketers, we tend to measure the positives. Even negative measurements are rarely negative, they are just small positive measurements — low response rates or conversion rates.

Over the last 10 to 12 years, a number of online tactics have come and gone. A few of these delivered great results on paper, blinding marketers to the negative impacts that were not measured. Here are three activities which such negative impact that people fought back, outright disabling marketing tactics.

Pop-Ups and Pop-Unders
There was a time when these were not just accepted, their “performance” justified a premium. Today, courtesy of pop-up blockers and a better understanding of consumer attitudes towards them, pop-ups are avoided by most marketers, publishers and networks. Personally, I’m annoyed with NetFlix every time their pop-up on Boston.com circumventing Firefox’s default pop-up blocker.

Applications
These have now been relabeled adware, spyware or malware, and internet security suites have significantly undermined these business models. They persist at a low level, selling through multiple layers of iframes via ad networks and exchanges.

Email Blasts
This strikes close to home for many B2B brands, who assume permission to email, for any purpose, any address they capture. As spam filters improve and become standard for both personal and corporate email accounts, marketers that don’t respect permission and repeatedly blast email are killing email. Today, even the best email marketers get a fraction of the results they would have a decade ago.

Once upon a time, these looked like great tactics. They delivered great results on paper. As marketers, we threw more money at these activities. We didn’t respect the people we were marketing too, ultimately pissing them off and fueling the passion that drove legislation and technology solutions.

Unless we include a thumbs down icon to let people tell us they don’t like our marketing, negative reactions are largely lost. And although I would like to see a thumbs down or dislike option on ads and sites, most marketers frankly don’t have the stomach for it. We know much of our marketing is disruptive and distracting, and fear it will be met with disdain more than praise.

What marketing activities today have become too comfortable, delivering positive measured results but pissing off people at the same time? Part two, with marketing activities still prevalent today, will be published next week.

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