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Digital Fatigue: What Marketers Need to Know

What’s in this article:

  • Given the near-universal presence of digital fatigue, here’s what marketers need to know

For the past year, we’ve interacted with most of our co-workers, clients, and even family members through screens. Consequently, most of your customers are likely experiencing “digital fatigue” — a persistent feeling of burnout and chronic stress that comes from information overload or simply being online constantly. According to a CDC survey, one in three people experienced clinical signs of anxiety since the pandemic began.

Even as lockdown conditions lift, this trend will continue to influence our customers for quite some time. One recent report on revenue leaders even found that 80% of audiences are experiencing some level of digital fatigue. Given the near-universal presence of these feelings, what do marketers need to know?

The effects won’t just disappear

The first thing to keep in mind is that just because we’ve rounded the corner when it comes to COVID-19, we’re going to be tied to screens for some time. Almost every country worldwide continues to experience new cases, and the risk of variants remains quite real.

Even setting aside coronavirus issues, the workplace is now far more digital than it was two years ago. Remote work almost doubled when the pandemic began, and managers believe 27% of the workforce will continue to be off-site after another year. More importantly, that latter number will almost certainly grow as employers become more familiar with new digital tools.

The good news is digital fatigue symptoms will lessen as customers adapt. In fact, remote work has several mental health benefits! The problem is that digital tools still cannot replace human connection and interaction. If marketers want to engage with customers in a remote world, they need to start thinking about these elements.

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Personalization and human connections are key

Human connection is one of the best solutions to address digital fatigue, which one can accomplish in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most straightforward option is to emphasize tangible items or experiences, even if they have to be communicated digitally — cooking classes or deliverable gifts being excellent examples.

That being said, marketers will need to keep a few key strategies in mind:

  • Personalization is critical: Forging connections with customers means treating them as individuals, not just a blanket demographic. Be sure to personalize communications with them and make offers that reflect their interests. Of course, this will be easier if you …
  • Actively listen to customers: Communication and engagement is a two-way street. Marketers need to pay attention to customer needs if they want to connect in any meaningful way.
  • Adapting will take time: As people become more familiar with digital communication tools, we will also become more aware of their flaws. For example, 92% of survey respondents believe that webinars need to be more interactive.

Digital marketing has come a long way since the pandemic began, but it must go further if we want to counteract fatigue. As always, prioritizing meaningful connections and relationships is the best solution — and it may help customers feel a little better about their lives as well.

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