Monday, August 27, 2012
By: Angela Render
A recent trip around Carytown in Richmond, Virginia pulled me out of a shopping funk. What snapped me out of it was a visit to a vintage clothing store which got me to thinking about how little enthusiasm I’ve felt for retail this year. There is an elegance in vintage styles that I’ve found missing of late. A sense of being put together—matching hats, gloves, purses—but also designs that accentuate the right parts of an adult body. Like so many of my fellow “X”-er business associates, I’m having issues with modern fashion looking either too young or too old. More importantly, my foray into vintage accessories got me to thinking about why I’ve been unexcited about the retail world and I have to conclude that target marketing is responsible.
Targeting your marketing efforts online is essential. With the whole wide world available to you as a market and a whole world of competition at your customer’s fingertips, focus is the only way to keep your message from getting lost. Plus, hammering people who are not interested in you or your product with your message is a waste of your time and money and just pisses them off.
With the magic of computers and the total and utter tracking of every click you make online, the Internet shopping experience is able to custom-fit an advertising or shopping experience to every individual computer. Well-developed shopping sites like Amazon offer up product recommendations based on my past shopping as well as the purchasing habits of people it thinks I have something in common with. Google offers up search results colored by my past search and click history.
In theory, it should be a shopping utopia online.
There’s a down-side to all this online targeting. And it’s not just the loss of privacy, though I know you were thinking that was what I was going to say, being the privacy and security advocate that I am. Rather, I want to discuss the lack of variety in the sorts of ads and products offered up to me these days. Browsing the web and looking for things yields no excitement and good luck trying to find gifts for friends and family! Everything I see, I either already have in one brand or another, or don’t want, and I hate to break this to my cyber-stalking brands, but my friends don’t want the same sort of stuff I do.
So what can a business do to combat this merchandise fatigue? We want to get the right products in front of the right pairs of eyes, but we don’t want those eyes bored either. With email marketing, a change in the look or layout can help, but consider once in a while sending an interesting non-marketing message or graphic–something to shake things up. This is doubly true on any social media marketing campaign. Your social media outlet should be generating excitement and interaction. That won’t happen if you’re posting the same products and same promotions every day.
Engage your audience on random topics occasionally. Invite feedback. One of my favorite campaigns was a catalog retailer of Americana products who invited their Facebook following to post pictures and stories of their favorite Christmas decorations. Not only was this a wonderfully engaging campaign, it gave the company’s buyers ideas as to what sort of holiday products might be desired for the next year.
While targeting is important in any sort of marketing, don’t forget that it’s human beings you’re marketing to and those human beings enjoy entertainment and change. Take advantage of those traits and shake things up.
Maybe add a hat.