July 02, 2007

Multichannel Independence Day

Independence Day gives all of us a chance to reflect upon the events that led to the creation of the United States of America.

We might think that "July 4th" is all about sparklers and snakes and lighting things on fire. Or about loading the family into the eco-friendly Ford Escape Hybrid SUV for a trip to the fairgrounds to watch the annual fireworks show, only to complain that the county didn't spend enough of our property taxes on a finale that beat the simulated weapons they sent skyward in a neighboring county last Saturday night.

Deep down, we realize that the fireworks simulate events that transpired more than two hundred years ago.

In the "multichannel marketing" world, trade journals, vendors, research organizations and conferences provide our fireworks.

We look skyward, waiting for the next big article or announcement. Suddenly, a firework is launched. A research organization commissions a study that suggests ninety percent of multichannel retailers fail at everything. BOOM! We ooooh and aaaaah at the revelation that almost everybody but Best Buy is highly flawed. We willingly fork over money from our budget to obtain additional PDF files that further humiliate the organizations we work for.

Maybe the next firework will be about a study that illustrates all the failures of research organizations.

Wait, here goes another firework! At the zenith of the firework, we see one white light, then a tenth of a second later, one loud BOOM! That's sort of like an article that hypes a product or service ... we get so excited, only to hear a big loud BOOM five-hundred words later. Without the recommended product or service offered by the vendor, our customers will defect in an instant. We'll be destined for the scrapheap occupied by previously wondrous brands like Montgomery Wards.

Oh oh, here comes the finale. The PA system plays "Stars and Stripes Forever", as thirty-six of the finest fireworks explode skyward, all within one-tenth of a second of each other. This is like attending an industry conference. A star-studded lineup of speakers, the exhibit hall dazzling one and all with the latest and greatest advances in multichannel technology, networking dinners, you name it --- it's a fun-filled assault on the senses.

At the end of the fireworks show, we head home in our eco-friendly Ford Escape Hybrid SUV. The real world awaits us. Similarly, when the conference is over, we head home in a middle seat on a three hour flight, hoping that somebody will listen to what we learned at the conference.

As we approach Independence Day, give a little thought to ways in which your department, or your brand, can achieve "multichannel independence" --- how can you be innovative, different, creative, dare I say "revolutionary"? What unique ideas do you have?