Headline: “the business environment has changed”. Shocker, right? uh NO! This is one of life’s constants, change will always occur. As we start to wind down 2013, I have observed some things this year,  that I will be giving thought to in 2014. One of the old marketing models was to have annual events, or appointment events. Gone are the days of the “one day sale”, with its pent up demand and huge returns.  Now, everyday is a “one day sale”, Filene’s and Macy’s took care of that for the mass retailers.  Car dealers, retailers and shopping malls would put a lot of energy and marketing dollars into a focused effort driving the audience towards a one day event.  In the past, this would be very successful both in terms of visual response to the marketing message and sales totals at the end.  For those of you that have lived in New England a long time you may remember the Alpine Ski sales in Rhode Island, people waited for the tent sale and they were rewarded with great prices. Somewhere along the way people got too much of a “good thing” and they became immune to it. 

I can only imagine that the thought process went something like this: ” wow so many people came out for our tent sale and we made so much money, let’s have another one at a different time of the year.” That fever of chasing what was unique and special starts to burn out the consumer.  They just cant buy “XXX” 10 times a year, they just don’t need that many or that much.

I think there is another force at work as well, the ” ill do it my way attitude” of consumers.  Online shopping, bidding for items and services and our learned A.D.D,  has created an attitude in consumers that they will do it when they are good and ready.  People are being bombarded with messaging all day long, from their coffee cup, to the radio, the billboards they pass and the scrolling ads on their phone when they access anything.  It is increasing difficult to create urgency, when every message is, ” only today”, “best prices ever” etc.   People have developed a pretty astute filter to sort, organize and delete messages. 

Long term, consistent AND creative messaging may be more important that ever.  While this is not new, I think many advertisers have gotten away from the tried and true, the proven and the one that requires patience. Clients want the “wow”, the “pop”, people lined up around the corner ( ala Apple I phone demand).  For most local advertisers that just isn’t realistic.  I had a meeting today with a great, local client.  It was our first year working together and we were recapping the year, talking about what he liked, what he needed for next year and how I can help him moving forward.  In that conversation, it became clear to me, that as much as we want to herd potential clients to his business, when we say so, we can only build the road, and illuminate it to show them the way.  They will act, buy and mingle when they are ready.

As a local marketing professional I need to find ways to help deliver the “wow” the “pop” and the “sizzle” to my clients in a more effective way.  To be honest there is no secret to this ( if I find one I’ll let you know) and it would be different for every client.  I think 2014 will be a year of more long term branding for clients, sprinkled with targeting ROI campaigns, and the quest for the new driver of “wow/pop/sizzle”.  I would welcome a sharing of ideas of what you believe the new “one say sale” is or what may be  the newest version of ” tent sale 3.0″. In the meantime I am going to continue to develop and recommend marketing plans that achieve my clients needs and goals. I will strive to provide them as much frequency and exposure through out the year, so their name is out there, WHEN the consumer is READY.

 

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