February 24, 2009

New England vs. Silicon Valley

There are fundamental differences in the way our customers shop, based solely on geography.

New England is home to a veritable plethora of viable catalog brands, and we see a lot of orange on the map, don't we? A catalog in the mailbox is a welcome part of the day in New England.

Meanwhile, 3,000 miles across the country we find Silicon Valley. This is the hub of technological innovation! Notice that almost the entire metro Bay Area is light green or dark green --- an e-commerce hotbed.

It should not come as a surprise that the most popular third-party catalog opt-out service is located in California. For many in this region, a catalog in the mailbox is an unwelcome intrusion, symbolic of the destruction of the planet, or a relic of a bygone marketing era, at minimum.

The catalog marketer of the 2010s will have a three-pronged marketing strategy, based on customer differences and geographical variations.
  1. A catalog marketing strategy for the 50+, rural, Mountain and New England based catalog shopper.
  2. An e-commerce marketing strategy for the middle-aged suburban customer.
  3. A social shopping strategy for the under-40, suburban/urban customer who fully integrates technology with lifestyle.
This won't be easy, but it is essential to the profitability of the businesses we manage.