December 24, 2011

12th Day of Christmas

The 12th Day of Christmas = Twelve Merchants Selling.

I dare you to find a marketing expert who talks about merchandising.

In fact, I dare you to find a marketing expert (outside of Apple) who has passion for the merchandise she has to sell.  There aren't many of these people out there, are there?

One of the reasons Social Media doesn't work among Traditionals/Transitionals is that passion simply doesn't exist.  When a musician has a huge following, the following feeds off of the passion of the musician.  When a marketing staffer at Ann Taylor tweets "Hot new dresses at 15% off this week only!", well, you get a response commensurate with the effort that went into the tweet.

It's no different online.  How many meetings have you been in where the merchant is beaten into submission by operations staff, by marketing staff, by the information technology team, who all provide 22,983 reasons why something can't be online the way the merchant wants it to be.

A merchant doesn't want to hear that a landing page must be designed a certain way to capitalize on a combination of "long-tail keyword conversions" and "scientific conversion data that suggests that blue buttons outperform orange buttons".

A merchant doesn't want to hear that it is more important for the Social Media manager to "join the conversation" than to "sell merchandise".

A merchant doesn't want her product banished to page 86 of a catalog where absolutely nobody will see it.

A merchant just wants to sell merchandise.

And a merchant has incentives aligned with selling that outweigh the incentives the rest of us have.  You see, if she doesn't sell merchandise, she's out of a job ... and if she's been kicked out of two or three companies, she's never going to get another credible merchandising job.

In other words, your merchant has a level of desperation that marketers cannot understand.

So maybe, just maybe, it is time to let a dozen of your finest merchants loose.  Invite a dozen merchants into your little Social Media circle, and see if they can move the needle.  Let them speak with actual customers, let them catch grief when a jacket doesn't fit properly, let them revel in the ability to convince a customer that it is worth her time to buy product.

Unleash twelve merchants selling, and see what happens.  Maybe the reason that Social Media fails to miserably to a Traditional/Transitional audience is that the people using Social Media don't have passion for the product being sold.

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