Marketers Admit To “Playing It Safe” for Fear of Being Canceled

  • July 27, 2022

By Kayleigh Tanner

Cancel culture
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New research has found that 92% of marketers are overly cautious and careful with their content marketing campaigns for fear of getting it wrong and being canceled.

  • A further quarter (26%) are worried about significant consumer backlash
  • Latest stats show that old fashioned ‘gut feel’ marketing still hugely present today, over data and insight-led campaigns

New York – August 10, 2022: A new report published by the leader in AI-generated marketing content, Phrasee, has found that brand marketers are reverting to using safer language in their campaigns through fear of appearing tone deaf to the challenging economic and social issues faced by consumers today. The latest paper The 3 Cs of increasing content ROI (in uncertain times) questioned US brand and agency marketers* on their approach to content marketing and language in 2022, unearthing the specific challenges they are facing when it comes to creating compelling campaigns.

Fear-factor hugely present in 2022 brand marketing

Throughout the research, there was an overwhelming feeling of fear and concern, with 8 out of 10 (79%) marketers quite rightly cautious about ensuring their content uses relevant and appropriate brand messages. It was also the case that many are still often relying on ‘gut feel’ marketing and don’t have the tools in place to understand what language resonates best with their audience, demonstrated by a huge number (91%) of respondents admitting they are unable to measure return on investment (ROI) for their email marketing content.

Clarity needed on what language delivers the highest levels of engagement

These insights showed that, even when marketers are making bolder moves with the language they use in their content, they are still unable to get a clear view of the immediate financial return that content marketing is delivering to their brands. In fact, almost half (42%) of US marketers aren’t confident that their content marketing is driving sufficient conversion rates. A further 64% of those surveyed were concerned that their marketing message may fall flat or be misunderstood by their target audiences.

Parry Malm, CEO of Phrasee, commented on the findings: “In the marketing world, words have the power to cement trust in your existing customer base and inspire action from new audiences. The message you use can make or break a business. Having a strong brand voice is critical to growth and – in many cases – survival, especially during a turbulent economic climate.”

He continued: “Understanding which words resonate and which ones fall flat can change from month to month – often day to day. In times of economic squeeze, marketers must adapt their approach to one that is more agile and allows them to unfreeze their messaging if needed. It’s this approach that will provide certainty of outcomes in terms of revenue growth and return on investment.”

Summary of key findings:

  • 8 in 10 (79%) of marketers are concerned about ensuring their content marketing uses relevant and appropriate brand messages in the current social and cultural climate
  • 92% of marketers are ‘playing it safe’ with their content marketing language for fear of getting it wrong or being cancelled
  • 64% are concerned that their marketing message may be misunderstood or fall flat
  • A further quarter (26%) are worried about consumer backlash
  • A huge 91% of respondents struggle to measure return on investment (ROI) for their email marketing content
  • Almost half (42%) of US marketers aren’t confident that their content marketing is driving sufficient conversion rates
  • Only a third of marketers optimise their language with technology (29%)
  • Over a third (37%) are looking for ways to make their marketing spend drive greater ROI
  • 55% of marketers would put their trust AI powered language technology to power their content marketing campaigns
* Research methodology

An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 501 respondents from the USA, all of whom worked in the marketing department of their company and were above the role of Entry-level. The research fieldwork took place on 26th May – 1st June 2022. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.

About Phrasee

Phrasee delivers state of the art technology that arms marketers with the right message… for the right person… every time. Its AI-powered SaaS platform generates and optimizes on-brand marketing messages in real-time, to maximize customer engagement and drive incremental revenue. The world’s largest and most progressive B2C-focused companies, including Carnival, FARFETCH, Groupon, Visa, and Walgreens trust Phrasee to transform and automate the performance of their marketing content across their digital channels, from email and SMS to web and social campaigns.

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