You Are Here – A Marketing Perspective

Posted by Jason Hipwell on

I recently found myself lost in the haze of Holiday shopping, as I am sure many of you have as well.  Having moved not too long ago to a different area made this year especially hectic for me.  Navigating a new shopping mall is one thing, but having one three stories larger than I am used to, proved to be extra difficult.  After wandering, for what felt like hours, I decided to take a step back to see what I had gotten myself into.  I found the mall directory and was soothed by the underappreciated “you are here” graphic.  This is when I realized that it wasn’t the unfamiliar mall, or maze of endless stores that had my head spinning.  It was the clutter of marketing ploys all around me that kept me from focusing on my goal of knocking out a season’s worth of consumption in one afternoon.

Some companies behave much like toddlers when it comes to getting someone’s attention.  It’s always “look at me, look at me!”  From the tenacious lotion salespeople, to the half-naked store models, and even the point of purchase displays, there is always something or someone bombarding your senses to get into your wallet.  And if you think you can avoid it by shopping online, then you probably need to dust off your computer screen and fire up the modem to get a look at the mass of online marketing that muddles the internet marketplace these days.

The point I am belaboring, as you well know by now, is yes, as a company you can try to jostle for space in the consumer’s evoked set for whatever it is you are selling, or you can look for an alternative approach; something less abrasive and possibly even unique.

I am not suggesting that you need to reinvent the “marketing wheel” but I do think it is time to shy away from the usual tactics and come up with something fresh.  Consumers need something to tell them “you are here” in a marketing sense.  They need something comforting and direct to break through the confusion of not just Holiday, but everyday shopping.  These are the top five tactics I recommend:

  1. Send clear, precise messages.  Not everything needs to be an elaborate scheme, just keep it simple.
  2. Be informative, not persuasive.  You aren’t going to win the hearts of the masses unless they understand what you are trying to sell.
  3. Humor is not meant for every advertisement; use it sparingly. (and only if you’re actually funny)
  4. Stay focused on your target audience.  As much as you don’t want to admit it, not everyone needs and/or wants your product or service.
  5. Use the internet to compliment your approach.  Nothing is worse than sending mixed messages.

Of course, this isn’t an all-encompassing list; there are endless possibilities when it comes to trying to stand out as a company.  Think for yourself what makes you unique, and how you can use that to break through the marketing clutter.