Companies don't always manage to reach their customers efficiently, largely due to the flood of poorly-targeted information. The key to improvement is to personalise communications.

Even though most brands have understood the potential of online marketing, they are still failing to come up with information that meets consumer needs. This trend is highlighted by an online study carried out by opinion survey firm TNS among 72,000 people in more than 60 countries. The study shows for example that over 60% of US social networks users don’t wish to engage with companies online. However, these companies continue to generate a large number of Facebook pages and other blogs, which in actual fact are very rarely read.

Noise volume drowning out the information

The result is what the analysts call “noise pollution” of online information. This means that the consumer is virtually drowning in the mass of available data and so cannot find the data s/he’s actually looking for. This phenomenon is accentuated when combined with the ever-increasing message volume generated by the consumers themselves. Nearly half (47%) of all digital consumers now comment online about brands. Yet these are the very brands that are finding it harder to make themselves heard, to communicate what they want to get across and to establish a real relationship with the consumer.

A less ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach might help cut through the cacophony

However, it remains out of the question for companies to ignore the online market. Americans spend 19 hours a week surfing on their computers. Cheryl Max, Senior Vice-President for Marketing at TNS, summarises the situation: “The online world presents massive opportunities for brands,” but it’s not about just producing material to make yourself visible, she explains. “Choosing the wrong channel, or simply adding to the cacophony of online noise risks alienating potential customers and impacting business growth.” Charlie White, Senior Vice-President for Client Services at TNS, stresses that consumers are all online for different reasons, and behave in various different ways. “It's time for marketers to recognise the digital consumer as a unique individual – one that requires their own unique approach," he concludes.