The Goldilocks Zone of Communication

We all get too much. Too many emails. Too much junk mail. Too many texts. Too much spam on our favorite social media feed. And, too many ads everywhere we look. In fact, the noise is at such a peak that advertisements, marketing, and propaganda are often confused with the communication messaging we really want to hear, see, and read. So, when we are on the other side, as the one sending the message for our company, association, or chamber, how do we get our communication through the gauntlet of piled high pandering to reach the clients, members, and, maybe even, perspective customers that really want to hear from us?

Too Much

The most oft-used approach by uniformed and undereducated communicators is to send more. “Make sure it gets through” is their battle cry. You can almost picture them donning their battle armor as they prepare to storm the castle that is your inner-sanctuary of peace to force you to read their message. They would argue that the science of the last hundred years has changed. It is no longer the case, they abruptly proclaim, that a receiver needs seven touches for marketing to have a real effect. Nor does it hold that messages from trusted, reliable, and liked sources are even less than seven, they loudly boast. The noise-factor, they boldly assert, has caused touches to rise to 10, or 14, or 22. You might rightfully question their heresies, asking: Why not 100? Or, 999?

‘Too much’, as they quickly learn, and you intuitively know by considering your own patterns, becomes zero as they go from trusted source and favorite organization to spam in the receiver’s eye. The result? Unsubscribe. Block. Filter. Disconnect. Once that happens, not only does the client not receive the program of the day we were hocking, but they receive nothing. We lose touch. We lose trust. We lose them. Certainly, we can use technology to separate our communications into various lists; so, when they unsubscribe from one, they still receive another. Thus, if they unsub from the newsletter, they still get the invoice. Or, when they cancel the magazine, they still get the program or product announcement. Like gasoline, this is good to make an engine go when used properly but disastrous when thrown on a burning fire. Clearly, ‘too much’ is a fail.

Too Little

The antithesis must then be true, right? The ‘too little’ crowd timidly whispers: we shall send them less. “Less is better” they murmur amongst themselves. They demurely conjecture that one, two, or even, three touches (when they are less nervous of a particular message) over a several-month period is the perfect fit. But, this approach swings the pendulum too far the other way, does it not? The infrequency of communication gets trapped in the noise, buried under the day-to-day trappings of our receiver’s normal life. It’s not that the receiver doesn’t want to hear or read from us. They just honestly don’t get it. Or, they get it weeks or months later as they spring clean their email box or junk pile. No, the bashful, milquetoast purveyors of the ‘too little’ heresy are also wrong. The science of touches still plays here, too. Thus, ‘too little’ is also a fail.

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