Allright, so this is sort of a follow-up to my last post. I’ve been interested in marketing and advertising lately, for a number of reasons. Sharla graduated with a degree in that sort of thing, so I’d like to help her along. Also, either her or I would like to start a business of our own sometime, so it’s something that I’d like to educate myself in. I don’t pretend to know a lot about it, but I am an active consumer in this materialistic society of ours, and am capable of realizing and pointing out certain things.
Our marketing/advertising society can’t seem to decide what direction that they’d like to go with marketing and advertising certain groups or individuals. On one hand, you have groups who market to everyone as a mass group. This is traditional. You air commercials on prime time TV that appeal to everyone, you mail mass market junk mail to everyone. One document or campaign appeals to the lowest common denominator and tries to reach as many people as possible. It’s annoying, but it’s effective. But also turns off consumers who call the advertisers on their crap and want to know why their service or product specifically should appeal to them.
I’m one of those. Unless I already know that I want what you are trying to sell, you’d better be convincing me personally that I need or want it. Otherwise, I want no part of it. And I have a right to be a picky consumer, it’s my hard earned cash that you are asking me to hand out.
Now of course, there is the other side of marketing that does just this. It tries to specifically appeal to consumer. This can be more effective, but is more dangerous. Spam falls in this category, those bogus shopping card deals from grocery stores fall in this category. Want to know how ridiculous some of those are? Best Buy and Books-A-Million ask you to pay for this. Yeah, that’s right. You pay them to collect information on what you buy so that they can specifically market to you via email and snail mail. They do offer nice deals in return, so it’s nearly a fair trade.
The perfect solution? As with anything, you find a happy medium. Tell me why I want your product, but don’t collect information on me that I’d prefer you not to have. Just because I walk into Wal-Mart and buy something doesn’t mean that I’m interested in it. Maybe I’m buying it for someone else as a gift. Appeal to my good nature and advertise the good deals you have on video games because I choose to tell you that its what I’m interested in buying. I’ll be happy to be a loyal customer if you continually offer good deals to me on that front, yet stay out of my personal business.
And that’s the marketing solution. Bring the people in with unobtrusive mass marketing, but categorize them into paticular groups (that they won’t mind being in) once you have them baited. For instance, Sharla is considering opening a fashion store. She’d appeal to everyone with classy advertising that represented her type of business, then categorize her customers. Teenagers who want to buy prom dresses, college students who want bridesmaid or wedding dresses. Politely ask for information, telling them that you can offer them good deals on what they are looking for, and then keep your presence and good deals on their mind. Form a relationship with them and they’ll have one with you.
Steal my ideas and I’ll hunt you down. I know where you live.