If You Bug Them, They Will Come

Okay, the truth is, if you bug them, they’ll buy more. But that wasn’t as catchy a title.

NextStage completed a 1½ year study of whether business increases or decreases when you tickle (I originally used the word “annoy”) your customers with repetitive marketing.

What’s your guess? Tick ’em off and they’ll book for a competitor? Are you like me and NextStage, proudly proclaiming “We only do permission based marketing because it’s more respectful to the consumer!”

Well, if you are in that “respect the consumer” camp, hopefully you’ll learn as quickly as we have.

I mean, research is research and numbers are numbers and 5,000 consumers can’t be wrong.

We studied 5,000 consumers’ habits across 4 main message vectors (email, social, phone and direct mail) in 3 industries (personal care, gourmet foods, politics). The study was specifically designed to identify that borderland where people shift from positive action ($$$conversion$$$, plain and simple) to negative action (removal from list, unopened emails, stop following, stop taking calls, recognizable drop in direct mail response, …) so that our clients would know things like periodicity, response-timing, best engagement practices, cross channel techniques, blah blah blah.

Much to my chagrin (and several others of us here. We were having one of our regular weekend getaways) we proved that regular “annoyances” increase business from 25-100%. Yes, there are several factors involved and it’s not as simple as “Spam the heck out of them!” but still, to discover that people want to be tickled? And that the simplest messages got the best results?

Essentially we discovered that we could create an itch that consumers were happy to scratch. Who knew that direct mail is hot in certain demographics? Or that certain ethnic groups favor one channel over others by 50:1? Or that some groups like regular tickles and others respond like crazy to irregular tickles?

NextStage got this project based on our past research in optimal blogging frequency (yep, people still read blogs…I hope) and email newsletter design.

So get ready. We’re planning to tickle the heck out of you.