June 24, 2013

Put A Bird On It

Maybe you watch Portlandia ... and know of the skit called "Put A Bird On It".

Here, Carrie notices a "sad little tote bag" ... she puts a bird on it ... all better!

Marketers take different directions, don't they?  When faced with a product that isn't performing so well, there are choices.

  1. Ignore everything and hope the problem simply goes away.
  2. "Put A Bird On It" ... 30% off Plus Free Shipping, for instance ... that's puttin' a bird on it!
  3. Find out why a customer isn't buying something.
The marketer slaps a bird on the problem, then moves on.  Job well done.

There are so many reasons why merchandise productivity fails.

Sometimes, the price of newly introduced items is too high.

Sometimes, the number of skus are cut back, while the demand forecast at a customer level is unchanged, creating the perception that business stinks when, in reality, business is exactly where it is supposed to be when skus are reduced.

Sometimes, old products are dying faster than new product productivity accelerates.

Sometimes, a category that "feeds" other categories (i.e. an audio/video receiver feeds the need for speakers, speaker wire, HDMI cables, that kind of thing) is performing poorly, causing feeder categories to perform poorly.

Almost none of this information can be obtained via a web analytics tool, or print-based response reporting.  Sure, it's there, waiting to be mined, it's hiding in plain sight.  But we can't analyze it with the tools we have.

So we put a bird on it.  And we measure the performance of the bird.

Take some time this summer to analyze merchandise performance.  It's worth the effort.