This month, the best way to learn about marketing is to look and listen as you shop your way through this holiday season. I am constantly amazed.
On my Monday lunch hour, I purchased a children's book at Borders, and the cashier asked me if I wanted to receive their e-mail newsletter. She then entered my e-mail address in the computer. I remember when cashiers used to ask us for our zip codes. These retailers know how to close a sale. They build the relationship by asking how they can continue to contact you and send you coupons so you will become "repeat business."
On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, catalogs flooded my desk top. Harry and David, Ace Specialty Foods, The Popcorn Factory, Wine Country Gift Baskets, Trophy Nut, and Things Remembered. So many corporate gifts...so little time. These companies are selling, selling and selling. They know everyone is in the spirit of giving, and they are meeting the needs of their customers. Nothing fancy, just in-your-face marketing.
Speaking of "in-your-face-marketing," as I walked into Macy's on Saturday, a man in a red coat held the door open for me. He rang his bell, winked his eye, and yes, I found myself digging into my pockets for loose change. The Salvation Army offers us a great fund raising example. They "branded" themselves - the red coat, the bell, the big pot. We recognize them. They are all over. They get us coming or going. It's hard to say no.
And then there is that other man in the big red coat. The one that has been sitting in the mall since Halloween - or so it seems. The one that always delivers what he promises -- and on time. On Sunday, I looked him straight in the eye, as he told one young boy, "Tell me what you want and I will get it for you." Now if that isn't the best marketing tag line. If you tell your customers you can do anything, chances are they will line up to come visit you, too.
I am still kicking myself for not asking.
If you would like to learn more marketing tips, please consider taking my class in "How to Market and Promote Your Business" to be held at Hofstra University's School of Continuing Education in February. And don't forget to check out my latest book review at www.liwomen.com.
(c) Debra Scala 2000