Opinion

How brands can effectively tap the micron revolution

Rajesh Jain | Updated on July 16, 2021

Marketers can do away with age-old concepts and address attention recession with relevance and rewards

Did you know that 85 per cent of emails sent by brands to their customers are ignored? This means 6 out of 7 emails are not even opened!

The 50-year-old concept of email has been forecasted to go extinct numerous times in a couple of decades, even so, its popularity continues to increase with each passing year. Even with the surfacing of newer concepts such as SMS, Push Notifications and WhatsApp, armed with incomparable cost-efficiency and scale benefits, emails continue to be looked at as the most effective method of communication.

Therefore as marketers, how can we ensure that every brand email is opened by customers? It would mean not only increasing the numerator (the number of emails opened) but also reducing the denominator (the number of emails sent). What would a new world of 100 per cent opens and therefore 0 per cent waste look like?

The Great attention recession

The InMobi’s Annual Mobile Marketing Handbook 2021 has revealed that fuelled by Covid-19, the massive digitisation the country witnessed in 2020, catapulted India as a leading mobile-first consumer economy. This consumer’s shift to mobile is transforming how content is consumed, be it editorial, entertainment or branded. The shift has also impacted the attention spans leading to a phenomenon called “attention recession”.

Apart from the increasing number of brands clouding screens, the rise of social media and the creator’s economy too has further triggered the fragmentation of consumer attention. Today an average consumer takes 2-3 seconds to decide whether to proceed reading an email or not; that is all the time that brands have to ensure a win.

Making attention the ‘new acquisition’ with micron-novation

As a consumer, imagine seeing short data-driven emails that can be browsed through in 15-30 seconds. These “micro newsletters” (microns, as I term them), unlike regular emails, are like intriguing SMSes which compel a consumer to see them right away rather than later. Rich with customised and relevant insights, these Microns allow the consumer to be exposed to the brand within that fleeting moment. They come and go in a flash but aspire to become a daily habit for consumers. Studies have proven that most consumers don’t make a purchase the first time they see a product. Repeated exposure creates an imprint and somewhere down the line the resistance to transact drops. Microns follow a similar methodology. As long as the content has been useful, triggered by context which I call ‘the Micron-moment’, consumers would be interested in reading these emails.

Pay consumers for their attention

Consumer interest is an emotion by itself; therefore developing a mechanism to make something as simple as ‘opening an email’, a rewarding experience offers a higher chance of capturing the consumer’s attention.

Microns aims to onboard the consumer on a rewarding expedition by gamifying the engagement process, wherein every Micron which is opened and actioned, earns points. Over time, these points can be developed into a ubiquitous currency that can be encashed for rewards of choice.

This process of incentivising the right consumer behaviour will empower the brand to lead the consumer along the path beneficial to their brand and will therefore be mutually beneficial to the brand-customer relationship. This gamification module makes brand engagement a rewarding experience and when backed by a method of easy redemption leads to instant gratification ensuring consumer delight, increasing faith in Microns.

Looking ahead, there are many directions this can go: The new micron-powered future can be categorised into a world with paid microns (where content creators become the ‘brands’ and offer micro-content for a fee rather than free), affiliates (who can provide a smoother middle layer for connecting buyers and sellers), game developers (who can fill those gaps with puzzles and creative interludes) and product-led agencies (who can offer micron publishing for free in return for a success fee for specific outcomes like reactivation of a dormant subscriber base).

Finally, when we think of microns, we should think of short, exciting, fun, interactive content, available on a single mobile screen (no scrolling required). This is what will take the 15 per cent open rate of emails to 100 per cent. Whether for customers or employees, microns can help brands and businesses open a richer world of greater engagement and interaction.

The writer is founder and MD of Netcore Cloud. Views are personal

Published on July 16, 2021

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