October 02, 2012

Judy and the Direct Marketing Success Pyramid

We talk often about Judy, Jennifer, and Jasmine, and for good reason.  See, it turns out that "omnichannel" is largely irrelevant ... it is an average of they myriad ways that Judy, Jennifer, and Jasmine behave.

In other words, your success strategy has a lot to do with who your customer is.

Take Judy, for instance.  Let's think about our framework, as it relates to Judy.

Merchandise:  Judy is about to turn sixty (60) years old.  Think about that, for a moment. In the next five years, what are the products that Judy will need?  How are these products different than the products that serve Jennifer?

Creative:  Ask yourself if Judy wants to watch a four minute video, then share her thoughts about the video on Twitter or Facebook with her sixty year old friends?  Ask yourself if Judy wants to use an iPhone to navigate through sixteen merchandise categories.  Ask yourself if Judy wants to remember great times from the 70s, 80s, and 90s?  Calibrate creative around the latter.  And oh, by the way, Judy likes "sameness".  How many catalogers have tried to change creative, only to have it fail miserably?  Judy doesn't want change.  Give her what she wants.

Finance:  Judy is the most predictable of our personas, and Finance folks love consistency.  Lifetime Value, however, is going to shift a bit in the next five years, as Judy approaches retirement ... her LTV will likely decline unless the merchandise assortment aligns with her retirement needs.

Service:  Judy is far more tolerant of paying for shipping than Jennifer / Jasmine are.  Judy is also more tolerant of your products arriving in 5-7 days, whereas Jennifer demands to have it in two days via free shipping.  Serving Judy means you have a bit more leeway than serving Jennifer / Jasmine.

Passion:  It is going to be increasingly more difficult to find young workers who have a passion for marketing to Judy.  Just ask any of a number of catalogers trying to hire up-and-coming Managers/Directors these days, they know.  And then we have Executives who are "hanging in there until retirement".  Oh boy!

Excellence:  If it is going to be increasingly more difficult to find young workers who want to cater to Judy (and this is an assumption of mine), it will be increasingly more difficult to find excellent workers.  This is a pain point among catalogers, I keep hearing about the "catalog brain drain" that has happened since 2005.  One Executive told me ... "I have to outsource nearly everything we do, because I can't hire anybody." At some point, this will come back and bite the Judy-centric marketer.

Knowledge:  There are two issues here.  First, we think we know everything about Judy, and for good reason ... we've been marketing to her for thirty years.  This is likely to change when Judy enters retirement, requiring a new merchandise / knowledge framework.  Second, we have to filter out everything we hear about Jasmine, because it isn't relevant when marketing to Judy.  Judy doesn't want engagement via Twitter, and she doesn't want to check in to the Dairy Queen in Louisville via Foresquare.

Vision:  Here's a place where CEOs need to "thread the needle".  We have a 5-10 year window to earn profit from Judy, and then we reach an inflection point where Judy ages and stops spending money.  At that point, the Judy-focused business model is not likely to pivot easily to serving Jennifer, who will have twenty years of Amazon-style service etched into her memory.  Be careful here, folks.

Evolution:  The Judy-focused marketer will need to think long and hard about evolution on two fronts ... first is merchandise ... second is audience.  It is going to take guts to market to Judy while trying to protect the future.  The very activities that Judy is likely to embrace (sameness, memories, retirement merchandise) are the activities that Jennifer will reject.

Chemistry:  It will be difficult to keep teams focused on Judy when the Executives of the future (currently 35-45 years old) will want to have sexier jobs.  It may make sense to have a "farm system" where the Judy-focused cataloger develops Executives who continually leave the company, hurting overall chemistry.

Tomorrow, we look at Jennifer.  Until then, what thoughts do you have?