Cultivating Positive Relationships Customer Service General Marketing Kudon'ts Opinion

Incessant advertising is another over-communication mistake

I can die a happy person if I never see another Golo or American Home Shield TV commercial come up on the screen. Make no mistake, I actually checked them both out initially. Golo offers a regimen to battle insulin resistance and American Home Shield covers home repairs.

In fact, I initially found the American Home Shield commercials entertaining.

Now, I turn off the sound or change the channel when either company airs a spot. The reason? Over-communication. Too often, advertisers inundate with incessant spots. The idea is to sell a bunch of people at one time with an advertising blitz.

Well, too much of anything can turn off previously engaged viewers—a customer service faux pas that actually can prevent sales. When consumers tire of anything, they tend to tune out. That includes not buying the product or service.

Ambulance-chasing attorney TV spots addressing everything from weed killers and talcum powder to car wrecks and pharmaceuticals also are over-exposed.

Their obvious strategy is to grab people’s interest and attention in a highly poignant, emergent way. Someone who’s just been T-boned by a texting driver is much more likely to respond because they’re motivated in the moment.

To a certain extent, that is likely the strategy of such companies as Golo and American Home Shield. Catch ‘em when they’re motivated—such as when they’re at their most frustrated because nothing is working to lose weight, or when a major appliance has just gone up in smoke.

Despite this, I always wonder how many people get turned off by over-exposure of any kind. Then, when they do need help, they automatically turn to a competitor of the firm whose commercials have alienated them. That’s not a metric that can be easily measured, so the default strategy is to keep blasting their message over the airwaves and elsewhere—hoping to “catch enough fish” in a broad net.

Then, there’s the one-two punch of over-exposure coming back to haunt companies after people have used their products and services. If the product/service itself doesn’t measure up to consumers’ expectations, bad reviews follow. Given that many consumers now reference reviews before making buying choices, this can prove highly damaging to future sales.

Again, this is a metric that can be difficult to suss out—but companies need to know it’s a major factor.

Just as seemingly is the case with everything else, companies going from under-communicating to over-communicating resemble a pendulum. Ultimately, through the natural course of events, they likely will find their way back to a sensible middle ground—offering enough communication to drive customer service excellence without bombarding people by over-messaging.

It can’t come soon enough.


One end of the pendulum to the other: From not communicating enough with customers to deluging them with confirmations, reminders, requests, survey questions, and directives via automated platforms and conversations. Clear, consistent communication is one thing. This is getting very noisy and annoying. While most customers can control the level of information provided to some degree (e.g., opting in/out of text and email messages and the like), there also is a proliferation of “surveying” during phone conversations that can get positively ridiculous.

Mark Lusky

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