Person in Times Square looking up at an ad amidst crowd


Can Your Customers Hear You? How Business Messaging Can Help You Break Through The Noise

February 23, 2023

Bright lights. Legions of street performers. And of course, the iconic midnight ball.

New York’s Times Square is one of the busiest pedestrian walkways in the world, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists, commuters, and theater buffs to midtown Manhattan each day.

On its face, the intersection might seem like a potential gold mine for marketers — after all, there’s a reason so many companies are willing to drop massive sums for an opportunity to advertise there. And while it’s not hard to find the value in a location that reaches hundreds of thousands of customers a day, there is one, rather substantial caveat:

Can your business stand out among the hundreds of other brands who had the same great idea, too?

Turning Down The Racket

Competing for attention to “break through the noise” is a marketing dilemma that’s hardly unique to Times Square. In fact, consumers are facing more “noise” than ever before throughout their day-to-day lives, with estimates that the average customer might see as many as 10,000 different advertisements a day across various digital and offline channels.1

That’s an astonishing number – and one that’s now become a familiar pain point for marketing teams around the world. Global brands funnel millions into SEO, email marketing, and OOH each year in the hope of reaching the right audience. But for many businesses, the sheer amount of marketing channels and other “noise” out there today is overwhelming, posing a substantial challenge to brands looking to stand out among the crowd.

Ultimately, marketers always seem to be fighting an uphill battle to ensure their brand will be noticed and heard — let alone make the sale. Marketing leaders echoed those concerns in a 2022 study from Meta, when asked what marketing challenges “kept them up at night.”2

“Consumers [are] receiving so many messages [that] they become desensitized to marketing,” one marketer said. “[It’s] hard to make a unique and memorable connection.”

“Digital transformation has been fast and furious,” another agreed.3 “I worry that our customer base is getting desensitized to so many digital messages.”

Marketing leaders expect a reasonable return on their investments — and with so many digital channels to choose from, they’re right to be wary of wasting resources on an already oversaturated channel. So where should brands expend their efforts in order to stand out and maximize their connections with customers?

Thankfully, messaging provides a solution. Below, we’ll review some of the ways that business messaging can not only help your brand gain your customer’s attention, but also maintain hold of it throughout each stage of the marketing funnel.

Person walking down the street reading a business message via WhatsApp

How Business Messaging Can Help You Better Reach Your Customers

Consider this: Among the marketers we surveyed, 56% said they’ve implemented a business messaging solution at their company over the past twelve months. Of those, 58% reported a boost in lead generation as a result.4

Impressive stuff. But even more remarkable when compared to legacy channels like television and out-of-home messaging: upon implementation, those mediums only saw a 45% and 37% increase in lead generation among the same group of surveyed marketers.5

Ultimately, 81% of all adopters reported expecting a “very” or “somewhat positive” return on their marketing investment in business messaging solutions.6 So why is this innovative channel suddenly such a stand out? A few reasons:

Most Customers Are Used To — And Simply Prefer — Text Conversations

Customers are more comfortable interacting with businesses in the spaces they use most often. Increasingly, that comfort zone is messaging: Today, 55% of US online adults who text regularly communicate with companies or brands by typing a text or IM via a chat or messaging interface.7

And it makes sense. As shoppers continue to embrace messaging channels like SMS, social DM’s, and live chat, calling a company’s inbound call center to wait on hold, listen to bad music, and take up all of your attention can feel downright prehistoric — and will likely turn your customers off on their path to purchase. In contrast, messaging as a marketing solution allows you to meet your customers where they already are — no need to guess about whether or not you’ll be able to reach your audience.

Moreover, your customers intuitively understand the asynchronous nature of text messaging, and can continue or pause the conversation at their convenience. Features like automated messaging and integrating chatbots allow many frequently asked questions to be addressed after office hours, too.

Remember: Customers are also more likely to read and respond to efficient, quick, and simple messages, positioning messaging above other traditional marketing channels. While many may screen their phone calls to avoid cold calls from businesses, consumers will open a text message 98% of the time.8

Person riding on bus, wearing headphones while reading a text message on phone

Don’t Just Push Customers Through The Funnel – Converse With Them At Every Stage

It’s easy to see why business messaging can serve as a powerful tool in your brand’s efforts to stand out from other would-be attention-grabbers — however far along they may be in the customer journey.

Brands can incentivize curious customers to sign up for infrequent text alerts at the awareness/interest stage, provide relevant content and more information at the decision stage, and offer an affiliate code for purchase at the conversion stage — all within the same conversation, and at a high degree of confidence their content will make an impression.

Most importantly, messaging allows customers to quickly write back with questions or clarifications. Rather than an email drip campaign or online ad, business messaging helps you to maintain a fluid, ongoing conversation with your customer along their path to purchase.

To help make conversations even easier, businesses can include quick-reply buttons to help customers know their options and keep the flow of the chat moving toward the next stage.

Messaging Platforms Feature Strong Marketing Personalization and Multimedia Capabilities

Many businesses gather useful information about their customers in order to deliver more personalized experiences. This can include first-person customer data such as name, age, location, shopping preferences, purchase history, and more. Brands can provide a significant level of personalization in their messages that can not only lead to improved open rates, but replies and sales.

Messaging’s nature as a multimedia channel can also offer some significant benefit and convenience to your customers: Perhaps a shopper texts your company with an interest in a particular product. While a marketing rep might be limited to reading from a script on the telephone, with a smartphone or computer, brands have options. Can you send them a few images of the product? Is there an introductory video that quickly addresses the customer’s question? Is there a PDF fact sheet that you could quickly forward for their leisurely review?

Even in contrast to its digital counterpart email, messaging edges out: your shoppers are simply far more likely to read, engage with, and ultimately make a purchase via messaging channels.9

Four people standing on the pier in New York City, overlooking the water in the evening

It’s A Noisy World Out There

As our media landscape continues to evolve, so too does the battle for your customer’s limited, valuable attention.

Thankfully, business messaging platforms have emerged as a full-funnel marketing solution, and one of the most effective ways to capture and sustain a customer’s attention in a world that’s full of distractions.

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