• Doug Pittman

The Relevancy Gap: Brands and Consumers aren’t on the Same Page

Updated: Apr 20


Marketers spend a large amount of time and resources to see which communication tactics are effective and why. It’s fair to say that many companies spend money on branding and marketing because they think it’s working. Well contrary to popular belief, brands and consumers might not see things the same way.


Twilio published a report that shows an alarming difference between how businesses perceive their marketing efforts and what consumers actually think about them.

Here are some key takeaways from the Customer Communications Report 2017 (http://ahoy.twilio.com/communication-divide-report-2017) :


· Businesses think 13% of their marketing messages are unsolicited, while consumers feel 85% of the messages they receive from businesses were not asked for.

· Businesses believe only 19% of marketing messages have information that is not relevant or useful, while consumers feel that 84% of marketing messages are irrelevant.

· Businesses suspect 26% of their responses to consumer requests are not timely, but 83% of consumers feel the response times are too slow.

· Businesses think only 26% of their outbound communications are not personalized, while consumers feel that 83% of messages have no personal touch.

· Considering frequency of marketing messages, only 17% of businesses think the timing is too frequent, but consumers feel 79% of messages come too often.

· Businesses believe they use consumers’ preferred method of communication 83% of the time, though consumers disagree saying only 33% of marketing messages are received through their preferred channel of communication.


Now we know that marketers aren’t psychics, but these statistics are quite alarming. With software improving more each day, companies have more data and insight into consumer behavior than ever before. But apparently, these insights are not telling marketers what they need to know.


If this study accurately represents even ¼ of all marketers and consumers in America, this disconnect is a huge issue. The findings show that businesses think they provide relevant and useful messages, while consumers think that most messaging is useless and annoying. If this is even slightly true, that means billions of dollars are wasted each year marketing messages to uninterested consumers.


In a world that is run on advertising, it’s not hard for brands to think that consumers enjoy advertisements. Strategic design and creative eye candy may make advertising less abrasive to the general public, but it’s unfair to assume that everyone is okay with constant messaging. The misperception between brands and consumers is being referred to as “The Relevancy Gap”, and it’s important for marketers to walk a mile in the consumers' shoes in order to bridge the gap.


Marketers must seek to find the relevant moment to deliver a message. When would I be most receptive to this message? When would this communication benefit me most? These are some questions marketers must ask themselves. Society as a whole is innately selfish. Brands must stray away from thinking about how consumers can help grow the business, and instead realize that success stems from how they can provide the most benefit to the consumer.