Interruption marketing is dying. The history of the aptly named “commercial break”) which breaks into your attention stream), is a prime example of escalating sophistication. Despite the growing sophistication of marketers, the rules have changed, the power struggle between buyers and sellers has changed and the buyers are now winning the battle.
Let me explain. Marketers who ran advertising “back in the day” communicated with their buyers through advertising by speaking directly and plainly. But advertising is essentially an interruption – and not everyone wanted to be interrupted. After all, if you look at the stages of buyers as they progress through the different buying stages, the vast majority of buyers are in stage 1 (Precontemplation) and deny that they need the service or product being sold.
People who didn’t like interruptions (and that’s all of us) developed sophisticated filters that distinguished between useful information and noise. And in response, the marketers vying for attention developed more sophisticated methods of attracting attention. And these methods trained the audience to become ever more selective in the filters that determine what they pay attention to. In response to the increasing sophistication of the filters that buyers use, marketers developed increasingly sophisticated techniques to penetrate those filters, including harnessing psychology, anthropology and ethnography to study, dissect and predict consumers’ behavior. In this struggle for the buyers’ attention there was a standoff, each side running faster and faster just to stay in place.
Then the rules changed. With access that the internet provides, consumers have more control, and they have almost unlimited ability to search for relevant information. The companies that give them relevant information will win buyers’ attention. This attention will not have to come from expensive interruptions, but will be freely given.
The way this translates into the business-to-business bioscience market is via content marketing. Those companies that provide relevant, compelling content will be given permission to start a dialog with consumers. The rest of the vendors will be struck on the outside of the conversation, looking in, trying to interrupt.