We’ve spoken a lot in this space, as well as throughout this publication, about how difficult it can be today to reach consumers with the right marketing message. We’ve mentioned how the “one-size-fits-all” mentality of yesteryear just isn’t cutting it today.
With all this talk about the changing face of retail and how today’s consumer is so drastically different from yesterday’s, it’s important not to get too bogged down in all this tactical minutiae. Diversifying your marketing message doesn’t necessarily require re-enrolling in college. There are a few simple steps to take that can yield solid results and keep you as close to your customers as you need to be.
Everyone is reporting on how “difficult” it is to speak to the consumer today but there are a few trends that are emerging that are actually making some things easier…at least on how you can better listen to your customers. The average consumer today has a lot to say and lots of places within which to say them. Online discussions, forums and blogs have become the Cyber-megaphones that people are using today to talk about everything from politics to that new camera they just bought. This is consumer data that is teaming with insight and information. They are sharing opinions, experiences and annoyances and, cultivated properly, it can be marketer’s gold.
This may sound a bit trite, but are you watching your customers as they walk through the door and as they stroll the aisles in your store? Are you engaging them in meaningful dialogue before they leave? Sometimes relying so heavily on traditional demographics, like gender and age, can take your attention away from digging for deeper details. Astute observational techniques are helping marketers in a wide variety of markets to better understand and segment their customers in new ways. Based on your current observational techniques, do you know what some of your better customers’ interests are, personality traits, life stages and passions? If you answered “no” to any of those, it might be time to clean your specs and get out of that back office.
Attention span deficiency
We live in a very “networked” society today, thus consumers are bombarded with what seems like an endless list of choices. As a result, attention spans are shortening. For many, patience is on the decline as well. Taking this into account can have surprising results. As is often said, less is more, and within this industry that may be particularly true. Think about this attention span deficiency in how you operate your business – from how your sales force sells to how you display the merchandise inside the store.
More so than at any time in the past, the customer is at the center of the universe at retail.
Not so long ago it was brands, products and even retail locations that held this esteemed position. If you haven’t started planning the way you run your business around this fact, you might want to give that a closer look as we roll through 2007.