As summer turns to fall on the eastern seaboard, weather wise, it means a time for hurricanes and other very large storms. Whether it is Isaac that just went through the southern USA or Leslie that is cruising towards parts of Canada, every hurricane is big news and sometimes, a lot of hype.
Strangely enough, most of the hype is usually around what didn't happen rather than the actual damage done. Is the hype ever justified or not? Last week before hurricane Leslie even left the tropics, a lot of Atlantic Canadians were hitting stores to stock up and bracing for the worst.
Regardless of whether the bombast around a hurricane is true or not, there are some intriguing marketing lessons gathered from the media's obsession with creating a frenzy over large weather systems.
Some good; some bad. But, we learn from both and we can apply them to our multi-channel marketing strategy.
From email, SMS and fax to affiliate marketing and social media, the "Hurricane that was" is one of the best teaching platforms out there.
There's such a thing as too much information
Just Google "Hurricane Isaac" or "Hurricane Leslie" and watch as thousands upon thousands of pages pop up. From weather updates, alerts, cone images, tracking to preparedness and survival techniques, in a matter of days – even hours – Hurricane Isaac became the number one trending topic across the web.
As a marketer, you're probably thinking, "Hey! So, what's wrong with that? We'd die for that kind of coverage." And, you're right, but not to the tune of millions of links of uselessness. Hurricanes are a study of how information can actually work against you. When time is of the essence and tropical storm wind gusts are baring down on you and yours, do you really want to have to wade through all of that information just to get what you need?
So, what's the marketing lesson here? Don't make your customers work for your information and don't flood them with so much content that they don't even know which way is up.
Automation isn't perfect
Every news source, weather outlet and government agency pour resources into tracking and predicting a hurricane's path. Even the 2012 Presidential Race got into the mix for Isaac because it was affecting both the Republican and Democratic conventions. There were so many maps, charts and graphs being shown it was getting to be too much for everyone. For some, this "overreaction" is a direct result of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. No one wants a repeat of that disaster on their watch.
But, what it does show is that relying too much on computerized models, software programs and frankly, robots is a surefire way to fail. There's something to be said about the human touch – our instincts, feelings, touch and reactions.
For marketers, what this means is that you can't be too dependent on your automated systems. Just because you set it up with all of the correct parameters, doesn't mean that it's going to succeed. And, automated systems can't predict what's going to happen with your customers, sales and subscriptions, ever. These systems, by design, interact on your behalf with your customers. Keep an eye on it. Stay involved.
Mixing marketing automation with a personal touch is the perfect way to go to avoid any hurricane-sized marketing bullets.