The last time I bought a toaster oven, it was a fifteen-minute experience. I headed over to Target, picked out one that I liked, and brought it home.
I wanted a toaster oven large enough to cook a casserole dish, which left me with only two choices. I went for the most attractive one, since it would be sitting on my counter.
Pretty simple decision.
I had to replace it this week and – like anyone that owns a smartphone or tablet, and is active on social media – it was a VERY different shopping experience than before.
I sat down with my Nook tablet, and searched “toaster oven reviews” and “best toaster oven” to see what people were saying. Then, I posted a query on Facebook to see what my friends recommend. Last, I headed over to Amazon to explore the ratings of the choices I had narrowed down.
After spending 30 minutes online researching which toaster ovens have reputations for quality and performance (because I’m sick of appliances that end up in a landfill after only a year), I chose a model. It was expensive, but seemed better in the long run.
Since I wanted it the same day, I checked prices on local retail stores, found one with a 20% off coupon, confirmed it was in stock on their website, and jumped in my truck to go pick it up.
Wow – just a little different!
I’m not alone: This process is duplicated millions of times every day all over the globe. The way consumers shop has fundamentally changed. And while it’s better for the consumer, it has been disastrous for most retailers, whose marketing tactics are not keeping up with the changes.
PUT IT TO THE TEST
How is YOUR company reacting to the shift? If it isn’t, let that be a red flag. If you want to stay in business… Adapt to change and, above all else, know thy customers.
5 QUESTIONS TO SEE IF YOUR MARKETING IS KEEPING UP WITH THE SHIFT
1. Do you understand how customers make their buying decision for your product/service? (Prove it, without basing it on assumptions.)
2. Have you actively changed your marketing to fit that process? (Fit your marketing/sales to how they want to buy.)
3. In the last twelve months, have you run a marketing campaign to bolster online reviews, ratings and testimonials for your product or service? (If not, yikes. Hop to it!)
4. As part of your marketing research/analytics, do you regularly look at popular search terms for your product/service, then do the same search to see how your company stacks up against the competition? (Know what your customers are looking for, and adapt your messaging/tactics to fit.)
5. Do you know what your website looks like on a mobile device? (If you engage in e-commerce, or have distributors that sell your product online, this is huge. Know what the buying experience is like for your customers across all platforms.)
Time invested in learning MORE about your customers is time well spent. You can’t understand them too much. It can only help fuel GREAT RESULTS.