We have to enrich our prospects’ lives. We have to enlighten, inform, entertain…

But we also need to generate revenue.

So how do you strike the right balance between providing value and getting a return for the value you provide?

In 2016 the reality is that we may have to create poor user experiences as the price of commercial success.

  1. Intrusion

Let’s explore with a specific example.

AppSumo this year launched Welcome Mat.

The user experience goes something like this:

You discover some interesting looking content – maybe a social media headline or a search engine listing.

Your interested is piqued. You want the content.

You arrive on a webpage and start to engage with the content.

All of sudden your whole screen is dominated with a huge promotion for some other premium content. Not the content you were originally looking for.

Go to www.growthhackers.com to see this in action. After a few seconds you’ll be hit by this dominating your screen:

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 14.25.32











You are annoyed. OK, it disappears quickly enough so you can get back to your original content.

But the problem is you’re in the 85% ‘annoyed’ camp.

15% of other users may have been disarmed by the intrusion, but will still give away their email address for the unexpected content gift put before them.

A 15% conversion rate – wow.

15% are happy. 85% are mildly annoyed.

The 15% enter your sales funnel. The 85% disappear forever because of a user experience they don’t like.

How do you reconcile this?

Intrusion works and annoys in non-equal measure.

  1. Deception

Much has been made of the debate on the dark and nefarious arts of native advertising.

By far the funniest is John Oliver’s eleven minute rant on the subject.

Platforms like Outbrain and Taboola are deployed to make our content look ‘native’ to the environment they are promoted in.

But there is no other way to describe the underlying strategy for the end user.

It’s deception. We want them to think that our content, produced for commercial gain, should be presented as actual news.

Native advertising provides the worst kind of user experience imaginable.


















It’s the kind of trickery up there with a sales person pretending to be someone else to get through on the phone to a decision maker.

But it works.

Mostly for b2c audiences however. Contentology tests have shown an underwhelming ROI model for b2b lead generation. Most b2b audiences are a needle in a haystack and paid search and social provide a much more cost effective platform to locate these needles. 

  1. Harassment

What could be worse than stalking as a way to build a relationship with your prospects?

Everyone moans about retargeting. That EasyJet flight search you made that keeps popping up everywhere. The LateRooms hotel enquiry that hassles you with a reminder email in your inbox five minutes after you visited the website.

It’s beyond intrusion – its harassment.

But executed well, in our experience it provides the highest ROI of any content promotion technique.

Walking the tightrope in 2016

B2b marketers will be walking a tightrope between:

  1. Creating great user experiences that build relationships for the long term.
  2. Creating terrible user experiences that work for the short term.

It’s not an easy balance. But has it ever been?

  • Advert breaks are a terrible user experience for TV viewers who just want the content.
  • The first 10 pages of adverts in lifestyle magazines aren’t great either for subscribers eager to get to content they paid for.

Given time, audiences understand and accept the price they have to pay for frustrating user experiences.

B2b business are investing more and more in premium content that is worth paying for. Prospects may get comfortable with all that intrusion, harassment and stalking as a price they have to pay.

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