Friday, September 8, 2023

Marketing Today

This is based purely on my observations and personal experiences. I believe the way marketing works today is different from the past, and not just in strategies and tactics, but fundamentally. Yes, one must still start with an understanding of the customer and one must still deliver a unique value proposition to that customer. But the advent of the Internet, social media, AI and data analytics has changed everything. 

Here are the two approaches to marketing that I believe work today. The first is not that different from what worked in the past but I believe it is even more necessary now when many more traditional approaches are far less effective or have ceased working altogether - word-of-mouth, referrals, peer-to-peer marketing and returning satisfied customers. This is all about human-to-human interaction. No wonder the very popular Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the extent to which one would recommend a particular product or brand to a friend or colleague. It is a measure of attitudinal loyalty but it also gets to the core of what works today, person-to-person influencing. 

The second approach relies on an active online presence, AI and data analytics. I can personally vouch for the fact that if you allow your online "likes," "clicks," and purchases to be monitored, you begin to receive offers of products that are increasingly tailored to your particular needs and desires. This pin-point accuracy in individual targeting was not possible even a decade ago. The purchase rate is much higher when every online ad features something that you highly desire. 

What has gone by the wayside? Cold calls. Unsolicited mail. Unsolicited email messages. Unsolicited text messages. Dialing for dollars. People you don't know asking for "just a minute of your time." We are receiving too many of each of these types of communication every day to consider any one of them for more than a fraction of a second. My routine is to delete as many email messages as possible as quickly as possible and if I recall that I deleted something that I was expecting or could be interested in, I have to go back to the deleted folder to move it back to the inbox. And, as a business owner, I get no less than five solicitations a day from lead-generation companies that want to make cold calls on my company's behalf. I can't imagine being a chief marketing officer today. That person's administrative assistant must spend most of the day running interference with all of the cold callers out there. 

So my advice for the future is to focus on peer-to-peer marketing and using data analytics and AI to get to your potential customers. Yes, there still is room for television, radio, outdoor and other traditional advertising approaches and I am always a fan of publicity and guerrilla marketing, and if you are a food product, free product trial still works, but try focusing on peer-to-peer and data analytics. I believe those are the future of marketing. 

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Business Hours & Convenience


One of the drivers of customer brand insistence is accessibility. I recently encountered a local bookstore with these hours. It is a new store and I love books so I wanted to explore it. Despite driving by the store a few days each week, I have not yet gone by at a time when it was open. I have now given up on the store. Unless the brand offers a highly demanded item or items not available anywhere else, inconvenient store hours will completely take it out of the consideration set. People do not have a high tolerance for inaccessibility, especial in the era of and a myriad of other 24/7 online stores that can ship overnight. 

Clearly, this is an extreme example of ridiculous hours of operation, but I have encountered many other places with similarly strange hours. If you don't uniquely offer the next big thing, don't handicap your business with limited or strange hours. And even if you are uniquely offering the next big thing, you would do much better to offer as much accessibility and convenience as possible. 

I suspect the bookstore I am citing will be out of business within six months, if not sooner.