While doing some work for the Insight on Business News Hour I stumbled on a story quoting Tim Suther the chief marketing officer of Acxiom, the world's largest processor of consumer data. He says consumers have grown weary of traditional marketing and advertising. So weary that much of what you, as a business, throw at them they...ignore. In fact he says major brands waste $112 billion each year by not engaging in "Smart Marketing."
IF this is true it is a mighty indictment of traditional advertising and marketing. So, let's for a moment, give it credit and talk about how to fix what is wrong with spending so much and getting so little in return.
Know Thy Consumer
"Smart Marketing" is knowing who your consumer is, what they want, when they want it and being able to communicate with them where they live. Sounds easy enough right? But it takes work. It takes more than buying into some media sales person telling you they have more 25 to 49 year old men and women than the next guy. It takes more than throwing together a print ad and buying space.
Smart Marketing is all about the tough job of research, about communicating with customers and about listening to the trends. For example, we once had a client who was convinced that the majority of their customers were men. When we looked at national data and on-line buying trends of their product...we found out quickly that women, and more directly mom's with small children and pets were their prime demographic. That information, and follow up focus groups, shifted the marketing and advertising dollars and sales went up dramatically.
Here is another example: Let's say 40% of your product sales happen on-line but you are only allocating 10% of your marketing budget in that direction. Make sense? When you add in the fact that on-line sales will increase by 20% this year...what are you doing? Wasting...resources.
A couple of quick points of how to get started in Smart Marketing:
- Realize the Power of Consumer to Consumer Marketing - We once called this "Word of Mouth". And now with the advent of social networking you can increase peer to peer marketing well beyond the barriers of time and space.
- Consumers Elect to Use or Not Use Your Product or Service - A great political reference from the article. You need to campaign daily and across the channels where your consumers live and work.
- Talk to Your Customer - Listen...really listen to what they are saying. Those that come into your store...and those you have never met. Use the tools available to tap into the conversation and find out what they want and need.
- Engage Them - On Their Turf - Would you try to sell dog food to horse owners? YES! If you knew that people that own horses tend to own, more dogs than those who don't. Look for the obvious and the not so obvious and be there.
- Build Your Tribe- If you make friends...your friends will campaign for you. Ask any politician. Ask...Apple. Make a friend out of your customer and they will help carry the message.
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