Gartner Blog Network

Interruptions Are Accelerating – Unfortunately

by Hank Barnes  |  December 2, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

This morning, I was using some “think time” to come up with ideas for this week’s blog post.  Then, my home phone rang (I work from a home office).  It was someone trying to sell me health insurance (sorry, Gartner has me covered).


Then, I went out looking at some of the articles I have saved to review while I was traveling the past few weeks.  The majority of the time, my ability to view the article was delayed as a pop-up ad covered the content.  Then a few emails came in asking me to buy a list or subscribe to a research service.

We interrupt this post to share with you an advertisement that is highly likely to be irrelevant to you and whose main value, if you call it that, is to distract you from getting stuff done.

These interruptions are getting out of hand.  For me personally, it is causing me to reactive extremely negatively.   Sometimes, I stay on the phone to talk to an agent just to let them know how annoying their company is.   For ads, I increasingly search for the “X” (close) button as quickly as possible.   I am either totally ignoring the ad or developing a very, very strong distaste for the brand.   Additionally, I’m starting to remember, and avoid when possible, the Web sites that promote this behaviour (as part of their advertising packages).

As a marketer, I understand the need to advertise, but can we find ways to do it that don’t interrupt and annoy our audiences?  Is a 1% response rate on a “low cost” calling campaign worth the “anger rate” that is likely to be much higher?   Do we really need to interrupt people to get their attention v. earning it?  Can we use context information to find times when an interruption is actually welcome?   Are there other ways to use context to create ads that are relevant and connected to the activities being performed?

If you care about customer experience, then figuring this out is crucial.  We are already dealing with so many distractions that it is hard to develop deep engagement.  Making it worse with interruptions that annoy will create a backlash.    Please just make it stop.

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Category: go-to-market  

Tags: advertising  customer-experience  engagement  interruption  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

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