February 17, 2013

Dear Catalog CEOs: Crunchy Peanut Butter

Dear Catalog CEOs:

Recently, we had a guest in our home.  To protect the innocent, I'll adjust the story just a bit.  This person wanted to eat breakfast.  He looked in our cupboard, searching frantically for something.  Then he turned, looked at me, and said the following:

  • "You don't have crunchy peanut butter?  You're telling me that you don't have any crunchy peanut butter in your home?  None?  How is that possible?  It's a staple!  Everybody has crunchy peanut butter in the cupboard.  Everybody!"
Breakfast was ruined.  It wasn't like the guest didn't get a meal, mind you.  It was just a meal without crunchy peanut butter.   

As they say on Twitter, #firstworldproblems.

We have #firstworldproblems in marketing, too.  We must have #omnichannel in our cupboard.  Omnichannel is the crunchy peanut butter of 2013, replacing big data, which owned 2012.

Back in the day, it was email marketing.  Or banners and affiliates, or even comparison shopping engines.  Then it was search. Then multichannel.  Oh, you couldn't live without multichannel, just ask Circuit City.  Then MySpace.  Then podcasts, because everybody is dying to listen to a twenty minute show about the myriad benefits of extended warranties.  Then Second Life, you had to set up a virtual store or you'd be left behind, right?  Then it was the "long tail", just reap the rewards of the long tail!!  Then Facebook.  Then Twitter.  Then QR codes.  Then retargeting.  Then mobile.  Then tablet commerce.  And here, in 2013, we realized that you can't just have all of those strategies buried in silos, you need to fuse them together ... call it omnichannel!

All you have to do is integrate every single aspect of your marketing plan ... same creative ... same promotions ... same merchandise ... and then make sure that, from a marketing standpoint, you execute every single possible tactic ... everything!  Might be close to impossible, and there's absolutely no proof that sales will increase on an annual basis if you do it (contact me by clicking here if you know of a business that saw a 10% sales increase across one full year by adhering to multichannel/omnichannel strategies).

Omnichannel is like crunchy peanut butter --- you have to have it!

In the parable at the start of this post, the guest still ate breakfast.  He didn't go hungry. 

If you don't employ a thoughtful omnichannel strategy, there's no proof that you won't be as profitable.  None.  No proof that you'll miss a meal.

Instead of being "omnichannel", why not focus on merchandise that your customer needs?  Why is marketing strategy so separate from merchandise strategy?