Interruption Marketing: Is Causing Friction in Consumer Experience a Good Idea?

With interruption marketing there’s a definite method to the madness if and only if you reach your customers to improve their experience.

Interruption Marketing

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In a bid to stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression, marketers across the globe are constantly looking for new ways of reaching customers and making it a memorable experience. This is where interruptive advertising comes into play.


Now, this concept has been receiving attention for so many different reasons, one of them being the controversy associated with this form of marketing. As the name implies, this form of marketing is often unannounced and is almost forced onto consumers. For some, this can be seen as an irritation and menace, while for others it’s a helpful tool to discover new brands, products or services.


This has created ample opportunity to increase your reach and attract new customers. However, in the same breath, it also leaves a lot of room for things to go wrong. For some marketers, this equates to a thrilling experience where pushing boundaries is often rewarded, but to do so, you need to be able to manage the process of interrupting your customers – or risk ruining your brand’s reputation as a result.


What is interruption-based marketing?

Interruption, or friction, based marketing seeks to create a constructive disruption. This may sound counterintuitive, but there’s a method to this madness. Sometimes, customers are not always aware of what they need or what they’re looking for, and so perfectly timed interruption marketing campaigns can make all the difference. One of the most powerful forms has to be the use of video marketing to grab the viewers’ attention – which is one of the greatest benefits of video marketing.


There is a fine line when it comes to this form of marketing. While some instances may see this as a welcomed form of communication, there are some who are immediately put off by a brand if they were to make use of these tactics. When we dive into the world of interruption marketing examples, you’ll understand why we say this.


Interruption marketing vs permission marketing

When it comes to marketing, there are two main forms, interruption marketing which we have already made mention to, and permission based marketing. The two names already give much of the difference between the two terms away, but to help you make a clear distinction between the two, the 2 main differences are:

  1. Permission based marketing allows customers to opt in, they have the choice to receive the communication – they know it’s coming and they’re anticipating it. Interruption based is somewhat more of a forced marketing option in that the customer doesn’t have a choice, they will be receiving the communication. This includes ads on TV, spam email and other forms of marketing that people are sort of “forced” to accept. 
  2. Permission-based marketing requires the customer to opt-in and gives the freedom to opt out. Interruption marketing doesn’t always offer this option. Imagine being able to opt out of commercial breaks on TV…


What is an example of interruption marketing?

When it comes to examples of interruptive advertising and marketing, our list could go on and on. So, to keep things simple, we’ll highlight some of the most common forms, cold calling, billboards, TV ads and spam email.


Cold calling is the process in which marketers call or email customers that they have never met in the hopes of persuading them to invest in the brand. Think of those insurance brokers that call you out of the blue or those random emails you receive about things that you don’t remember opting into. This also ties in with spam email that’s sent to a list of unsuspecting victims, or customers if you will.


Billboards, TV ads and other more traditional forms of marketing are seen as interruption because they just appear, the customer has no control over that.  This should help paint a picture of interruption-based marketing. Anything that a customer cannot control in terms of marketing collateral can in most cases be classified as interruption based marketing.


Of course, in the age of data privacy and customer-centric behaviour, this process can be a lot more complex as you may not be able to reach customers that haven’t given their consent to do so. This is where the Interruption marketing vs. permission marketing debate come into play. The trick is finding ways to get permission to contact prospective customers without fringing on data privacy laws.


In addition to the telephonic and digital methods of reaching out to new people, there’s also the old fashioned, face to face approach of it all that needs to be considered. This could be something as simple as having a member of your team stand outside your store or do door to door home visits. The only real limit to this approach is your imagination.


Benefits of using interruption marketing

In the world of marketing, the ability to expand your reach and convert a wider audience is always a welcomed experience. This is one of the many reasons why marketers choose to use interruptive forms of marketing.


Additional benefits of interruptive marketing include:

  • Quick results – with the right budget of course. This also means a greater return on investment when the correct strategy is used.
  • A wider reach as your ad is being shared in a more diverse, public space. You never know who is watching and in need of what you are currently promoting
  • These ads are more flexible and easy to change and schedule. This means that you can change the frequency or time slot it is being displayed to ensure maximum exposure.


What are the cons of interruptive advertising?

What may seem like an innovative way to expand your reach could snowball into a much bigger problem if not managed correctly. In addition to this, whatever your tactic is prompting customers to do, it needs to facilitate a seamless user experience. 


This means that if, for example, you are trying to drive traffic to your website, you need to ensure that your website has been optimized for the best possible user experience. If the call to action is to request a call-back, then you need to ensure that a trained team member is able to manage these requests and provide the necessary feedback and information. The “what’s next” aspect needs to be addressed at all times.


The last thing you want is to have your marketing tactic work effectively, only to be let down by a power follow through on your side. Should this happen, you’ll lose the interest and more than likely not get them to follow the same process again in future.


It is worth mentioning that while the concept is based on interruptions, you need to know when to back down and accept defeat. Pushing too hard too fast will be overwhelming to unsuspecting people and will leave a negative brand connotation. Rather test the waters first, and based on the response, determine a way forward.


Additional cons of interruption marketing include:

  • A more generic, not as clearly defined audience.
  • It is limited to time – whether it is an online ad or a print ad – it is only effective while it is visible too your audience.
  • It can be irritating and off-putting
  • The return on investment is a lot lower than more targeted, personalized marketing tactics.


Understand boundaries and make them work for you

At the end of the day, navigating the world of interruption advertising requires a great deal of research and patience. In most cases, you won’t know the success of the endeavor until you implement it. However, once implemented, you’ll need to monitor the progress and change our approach if it doesn’t appear to be working.


Interruption marketing can easily be referred to as the basis of most traditional marketing forms, and for this reason, it is set to stay. It is a great starting point for marketers and can provide valuable insight into customer behaviour that can be used for future campaigns.


Overall, interactive or friction marketing tactics are a good idea and can be a powerful tool in any marketing campaign. All you need to do is use it carefully.