ice cream man

In today’s world, we are surrounded by marketing messages.  In a cluttered marketplace, marketing professionals need to be innovative to ensure their message is heard.  This has come to mean that we are often inundated with unexpected and unwanted marketing intrusions.  Here are the top five that drive me crazy.

1.  Home Ice Cream bell

Every second Saturday, my peaceful morning at home is interrupted by up to an hour of intermittent “ding dings” as the Home Ice Cream truck delivers to my neighbourhood.   Not even a melodic tone, but the old school bell ring.  That’s what has driven me to write this post as it echoes in the background.  For a while I wasn’t even sure what it was, so it is clever marketing in that I now know that bell means the Home Ice Cream truck (classic Pavolov theory).  However I don’t understand that if barking dogs are a council offence, why this regular auditory abuse is allowed. Do you have this in your suburb?

2.  Shopping Centre walkways

Individual shop windows and displays scream for attention and overload the senses in any shopping centre, however this has now overflowed into the walkways as well.  I would like to be able to take a brief “break” between shops but am often thrust flyers and need to avoid eye contact with eager sellers prowling the walkways of Westfield.  I can understand the appeal to centre management of extra income, however it really pushes me into marketing material overload.  One positive way I have seen this used is for community groups to be able to – preferably unobtrusively – promote their services or fundraise.  What do you think?

3.  Secretive Surveys

I don’t mind completing surveys for genuine research, but what I mean by secretive surveys is those which present themselves as social research however are completely geared towards a sales pitch at the end.  One that comes to mind was on my honeymoon in Crete, Greece.  We thought we were being asked by the tourist bureau what our thoughts were of Crete as a holiday destination.  Turns out that through a variety of “secretive survey” techniques we were going to spend the next 2 hours of our precious time being pitched a time share apartment.  Ever been in this situation?

4.  Junk Mail

I almost hesitantly include this as I do have a bit of a soft spot for junk mail.  Especially with a busy life and two small children, being able to pre-plan shopping trips around products I need and are on special that week is very useful.  However it’s the size, layout, regularity and volume in which I find a level of intrusion.  For example, is it really necessary to print the massive formats that seem to have appeared recently?  Woolworths and Coles, I really don’t need a life size representation of my supermarket products to understand what’s on special.  Just think of the paper that could be saved if they were all printed in half size, or online as I wrote about in the lasoo.com post.  I do still have a bit of a paper addiction I’m trying to break though, I can’t bring myself to put a “no junk mail” sticker on my mailbox – do you have one?

5. Telemarketing

An all time pet hate of mine.  My home is my sanctuary.   I can control tv ads by turning them off or on mute.  I can read my junk mail at a time that suits me.  I already support a number of charities. Rushing to answer the telephone at an inconvenient time – to avoid my daughter being woken from her nap for example – to be greeted by “hello, this is x from x (usually mumbled or in a heavy accent I can’t understand), and I’d just like to ask you a few questions about your current x” makes me furious.  I have registered for the “do not call register” however as charities are excluded, still get calls at times which interrupt my day.  I somehow always end up with a somewhat guilty feeling at defending my home territory.  Do you?

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences of unwanted marketing intrusions.  Would you like to learn how to use this concept more positively in your business?  Read Zestee’s top five favourite marketing intrusions.