As the digital world grows and expands on a seemingly daily basis, many companies, large and small, are finding that it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a personal connection with clients. This is offset slightly by the fact that new, diverse marketing and advertising opportunities are presenting themselves in the form of new technologies and media at a frenzied rate.
Let’s rewind a bit. In its hay day, the powerful concept and practice of mass marketing was thought to take the personal element out of marketing. This, however, is simply is not the case. While the hypodermic needle was an excellent theory, it discounted the concept of human interaction, which took place at the point of purchase. Television viewers, radio listeners, and newspaper readers ingested mass media and, as a consequence, were heavily influenced in regard to purchasing decisions. This influence, however, was not, in my opinion, the ultimate influence. The ultimate influence occurred at the point of sale.
Consider this example. A housewife and son hear a Cheerios commercial during The Lone Ranger. The very next day, the housewife decides to pick up a box of Cheerios while at the store purchasing ingredients for dinner. Her grocer of 10 years however tells her that her son will likely enjoy Rice Krispies more than Cheerios because of the distinct sound Rice Krispies makes when milk is poured over top. As a result of the suggestion, the housewife puts the Cheerios back on the shelf and instead follows that advice of her trusted and long time grocer.
Fast forward to present day. With the introduction of big box stores, franchises, and extended hours, that point of sale connection and influence has all but disappeared. This may have been considered a good thing for mass marketers but the power of mass media has dwindled as well. Despite our best and most creative efforts, the power of mass media has yet to be duplicated. This means that, as marketers, we are missing out on the mass media, no brainer initial point of contact.
Fortunately, while the era of mass marketing has dissipated and we have been forced to look elsewhere for results, a gem of an opportunity has presented itself. Thanks to the Internet, digital media, and new technologies, we marketers have many alternate avenues to explore, test, and utilize to the fullest. And explore, test, and utilize we have, especially at that elusive point of sale period. Thanks to digital signage systems, electronic message boards, and most recently, narrowcasting, we have finally mastered the point of purchase.
Now we possess this power to capture a captive audience, right at the time of purchase. This is especially significant when considering that nearly two thirds of all purchasing decisions are based on impulse decisions. We marketers are a resourceful and adaptive bunch. We have dealt with the loss of mass marketing power by focusing, not only on new technologies and resources, but also by focusing on other points along the purchasing decision timeline.