May 15, 2008

Shoulds

What is your response when somebody tells you what you "should" do?

"You should have that item available in all channels at the same price."

"You should allow your customers to buy online, and pickup the item in stores."

"You should let the customer determine how often you advertise to the customer (this one is fascinating, because the "should" changes dramatically if you should be accountable for driving sales and profit increases!)".

"Your should integrate all of your advertising strategies under a cohesive multichannel umbrella."

"You should eat four servings of vegetables and fruit each day, and you should walk at least 10,000 steps each day."

"Shoulds" seem to have two purposes in our multichannel world.
  • To maintain the status quo.
  • To alert one of new technologies or methodologies.
Our reaction to "shoulds" is different in each instance.

Shoulds that maintain the status quo are frequently annoying and feckless.

Shoulds that alert us to new technologies create fear. Go tell a traditional marketer that they "should" embrace social media sometime. Brace yourself for the response.

During the past two weeks, I've been bombarded by glossy direct mail and well-written e-mail letters, encouraging me to participate in a veritable plethora of "shoulds" at next week's ACCM conference. You'd be amazed how many people think you should stop by a booth to enter a drawing for a free iPod Nano.

It seems like the secret to shoulds is to identify who benefits from the "should", to identify the motivation of the should. Shoulds consume time. There are an infinite number of shoulds to adhere to. There's a limited amount of time to shoe-horn in a bunch of shoulds.

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