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Expand your ad vocab to add magic

Marketing 101

Advertising: The mere four syllables evoke a variety of emotions from retailers the world over. Disdain, fear, anxiety, joy (OK, very rarely joy), and if we asked retailers to expand those words into thoughts, I may have to cover my mother’s ears. But, we can change those responses into something more productive and meaningful if we address the concept of retail advertising with only two words, and my mother will believe I have a legitimate job.

I am so confident I can alter the reaction to those four syllables with my two words that I’m willing to make a friendly wager, but more on that later. The two words are: (drum roll from the editor, please) … embrace and destiny.

To the unenlightened, those words may have little relevance. Consider this the beginning of our enlightenment. Before the skies can brighten in the world of retail advertising, some background may be appropriate.

Conceptually, the functionality of advertising begins with the ever-changing definition of the word itself.

Fundamentally, advertising has evolved from a necessary business function with somewhat limited applications to a distinct opportunity to drive and deliver your unique selling proposition to the entire world. Pretty heady stuff, huh? The world can fairly easily (and moderately inexpensively) know who you are, what you sell and why they should buy something from you.

As importantly, advertising has broadened to include things like customer service relationship activities, database development, mining and interaction, social media, varied URLs, and an entire dictionary full of phrases now bound into one ever-evolving volume titled: The New Dawn of Retail Advertising: Open Your Eyes, It’s Time to Start a New Day.

Again, I reiterate the words of the month: embrace and destiny.

Embrace the concept of advertising and marketing communications. The ever-broadening definition of advertising gives you the distinct opportunity to play the game, and play it well. Become an expert, understand the dynamics of your customers and their behavior, be willing to experiment, address the concept of the retail world on the Internet and various social media outlets and, for heavens sake, measure the results. You are making an investment in this facet of your business, so you must always get a return. One could easily drone on about the importance of every element of your advertising initiative, but we will limit discussion to the least common and most important denominator – customer experience.

Is customer experience advertising? Absolutely. Your customer’s experience is the single most critical element and the most effective form of advertising there is. Word of mouth. That’s right I said it, and I’ll say it again. The 25-year ad guy says “word of mouth?” Am I trying to plan my own demise? No. I’m asking you to consider your retail destiny and realize it begins with that relationship with your customer.

Begin to look at every element of your enterprise that touches a customer. After you’ve done so, make these elements better, more memorable and unique and make yourself proud. Only then have you embraced your potential as a retailer and as a provider to your customer. Without exception, the customer experience is the beginning of a journey that, coupled with knowledge, breeds confidence. This, in turn, creates enthusiasm, which ultimately drives passion. The passionate advertiser attracts the passionate consumer; like attracts like. It is an age-old philosophy that, fortunately, has a very successful ring to it.

So how do you begin this journey? Your relationship with the world as a passionate advertiser begins with nothing more than an embrace. If this is not your destiny, it should be.

Technology, as it relates to advertising and marketing communications, has given even the smallest retailer the opportunity to compete on the grandest of selling stages. With the World Wide Web and burgeoning accessibility to social media outlets, it is every retailer’s destiny, regardless of size, to expand that scope in a way that defies the rules of the old game of advertising.

Embrace your advertising endeavors and your destiny is sealed with success.

By the way, what’s a unique selling proposition? It’s the first step toward that perfect customer experience and, what about that friendly wager? Try our new approach: Embrace and control your retail destiny. And, if it doesn’t work? I’ll give you my mother’s phone number and you can tell her what you must about me. Is that a wager you’re willing to make?

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