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What’s Wrong with this Message?

Enough about the economy stupid.

Yes, we need to be empathetic to the consumer’s need to save, but the problem is amplified and exacerbated when everyone who is marketing has the same basic message across all communication channels. A basic tenet of marketing – differentiation, is lost.

Shouldn’t your brand be all about helping consumers escape the everyday issues of life? Keep in mind that when your advertising messages remind your own brand constituents of the harsh realities of living today, and that they should save money every time they buy you are NOT making them feel like they need to have what you’ve got.

A Marketing Moment of REALITY:

Lay your last six-months of advertising out on the table in front of you. What message did your customers get? What direction did you take your store brand?

If you promised the same thing everyone else did you are, or you are becoming just like them. It’s not too late to get back on track, or to get on the right track.

If your messages are too price focused there is a penalty when customers wait until the next sale to buy.

Retail TouchPoints reported: According to MARC Research’s March consumer survey, 43% of all customers base their purchase decisions on price, up from 40 % in February. And the percentage of consumers who said they were postponing purchases in anticipation of future discounts went up from 33% to 37 % over the same period.

Constant Contact is a great name for an email marketing company, but not so great when their product is over-used to constantly badger customers with low price and discounted deals. Price driven promotions may work for you in the down economy, but what will you do to get your customers to pay full price later? Be careful of letting a short term gain of price driven marketing bring you long term pain. Maybe there is a better way?

Remind yourself first of the unique value you provide your customers.

Do you sell the same perennials your customers can buy elsewhere? Do you sell the same selection of annuals from the same growers? Is your customer service the same lip service they get everywhere else? Are your bonus bucks better?  Is the experience in your store basically the same as a half-dozen other garden centers? HOW do you know?

If you are not the same, then why not say so?

I’ll tell you why – because it is easier to say what everyone else says, and difficult to create and tell your own unique story. If you offer nothing really different, then change your company before you change your marketing message. This is the job of the marketer, and it is why marketing is the job of everyone in your company. It is why we believe a cultural transformation is necessary within most companies, and it is why we designed group dynamics into our Advantage Development System programs. After all, a better message is not better if you don’t deliver what you promised to every customer, every day.

And your marketing message had better be as Überdifferent as your company can be. Because it cannot be effectively mass duplicated without losing something, this is the unique domain of the locally-owned independent retailer – but only if we can deliver it.

Quick, if you can think of one, click on the Comment link or Leave a Reply to tell about an experience you’ve had as a customer of another retailer recently that was über-different.

And while you’re at it click to SHARE this, and also click on the stars to VOTE.

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4 Responses

  1. When we talk to associates and customers and ask why did you come here for the first time we usually here the same message – we heard about how beautiful it was here with all your colorful plants. It is not easy to market a luscious sea of color.

    Folks keep coming back to just to see how beautiful it is here in the spring.

    Yes we have a great loyalty program, yes we have a great gift card program, yes we have many fun events, yes we grow in an enviromentally friendly manner, yes we have associates that care about the customers as friends and about their gardening success – our customers know the above but when all is said and done it really is our facility and the show of color we put on. There is nothing quite like it in our area.

  2. What do you think about marketing appeals to “simplicity”? Here’s what I’m noticing: Me and many of my 30-something-year-old cohorts are taking stock of life. Due to layoffs, we’re down to one income–even those that have families. In my case, I’ve realized that you can do a lot with little. And the simple things are worthwhile.

    Even though our financial situations are hardly ideal, we don’t want to be bomarded with “Door Buster Sales!” “Everything 50% Off!” etc. Why? Because those messages are strictly about money–which we don’t have enough of, period. I’m looking at my garden right now as a place of simple comforts. A place to put in a fall vegetable crop, create a fairy garden with my daughter–that kind of thing. It’s not about money–even though I am spending my limited discretionary dollars to improve my outdoor spaces.

    I’m looking to buy into a simple lifestye. I’m looking for quality and value. Geez, I’ve got to worry about coupons enough when it comes to grocery shopping. Can’t I have a little peace–and fun–at the garden center?

  3. I think you are in the same boat many other people are in. They will return to the double-income family status and will be able to afford bigger luxuries. Smart retailers want to be there when they do. SO RIGHT to create the place of escape from the other shopping they HAVE to do.

  4. So often we go to great lengths to get people to do what they already want to do but for different reasons than they already want to do it. Why not just reinforce the reason they come in the first place to remind them to do it again, and to send their friends, co-workers, relatives, and neighbors for the same reason they enjoy it. That approach takes your prices completely out of the equation.

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