Marketing has evolved.

Traditionally speaking (the late 1800’s through mid 1990’s) every single marketer has controlled their message to the consumer.  If you wanted “making your house home” all you had to do was say it and she bought it…at least you thought that she did.  Marketing was easier.  Life was easier.

Today and moving into the future the marketer has ZERO control over their message.  Not to say marketing campaigns, positioning statements and branded collateral are not important to today’s consumer (they are expected), but we can no longer make the claim “making your house a home” without knowing that is what you actually do.

A quick fix that is projected throughout the landscape of retail is to get a better website, build a Facebook profile, or start a blog and you have mastered today’s marketing.  This is a knee jerk reaction that only creates problems—not solutions.

Another knee jerk reaction is to take this new way of marketing as “I better change everything right now to meet the customer’s needs!”  Sometimes this is part of the solution but at the core is truly identifying who you are RIGHT now.

Here’s how today’s brand is broken down:

ME + YOU – (YOU-RX) = $$$

ME: The me is the not the retailer in this case.  The ME is Ms. Jones.  She has to be first in the equation and added to the brand.  There is not a need for furniture in the marketplace without her.  Every decision revolves around her and only her.

YOU: The first YOU in this equation involves the retailer.  This YOU is the retailer’s strengths with quantifiable reasoning.  The claim “We have good delivery” does not stick in the marketplace.  However, claiming “We have a 98% efficiency rate for on time delivery” or “9 out of 10 delivery surveys come back with a grade of 10 out 10.  View our website to read each and every comment” does have validty and truth.  Without strengths there is not a story to tell and thus not a compelling reason for the customer to come in.

YOU: The second YOU in this equation involves the retailer again.  This YOU is the retailer’s weaknesses without quantifiable reasoning.   In the mind of today’s consumer if it happened to one or if it happened to hundreds it does not matter because someone is talking about it.  All it takes is one post on Facebook or one user generated bashing website to bring a perceived weakness to the top of the mind awareness of Ms. Jones.

RX: This RX is a prescription for help to combat weaknesses.  This does not work by attempting to demean the consumer who said these things or to simply delete their comment, review or post.  It happens by identifying these problems, addressing them directly from the source and owning up to the situation.

How do you execute?

1. Do you know who you are? Before you can begin a dialogue with Ms. Jones in this new landscape you must know your organization inside and out.  Investigate and discover all of the aspects of your organization to determine the unalienable things you do that no one else in your trading area can claim.

2. Do you know who your customer is? So you have identified the first YOU once you discover who you are but how do you find the ME in the equation?  Drill through your customer list.  Where does she eat?  Sleep? Shop? Work out? Browse? Before you can begin turning the

equation into money you must meet your Ms. Jones and shape your strengths around her.

3. How are you going to accomplish this new dialogue? Marketing was never easy.  It has not gotten any easier.  A road map has to be put in place for how you are going to talk about who you are.  Is it going to be through Facebook?  Search engine optimization? E-commerce? Direct Mail?  Grassroots marketing?  Transactional?  Relational?  Nothing?  Without a proper plan and items and people to execute it, the equation will never line up in your favor.

Marketing has changed…are you ready to change with it?