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Practicing “Switch Craft” in Modern Marketing

The fact is, most consumer categories today are share grabs: Consumer Packaged Goods categories are not growth engines; apparel remains tough at best; even tech – from mobile phones to tablets – is focused on constant innovation or feature bundling to defend position and even cannibalize its own (the New iPad was just introduced, even though the iPad2 is but a toddler).

In this prolonged economic downturn it makes sense that today’s winning marketers really understand how to keep loyal customers from switching and how to get potential switchers to switch to them. They know the buttons to push and the buttons not to. Below, we highlight five success factors in driving business value – it’s a combination of art and science – that we affectionately call “Switch Craft.”

Creating Irresistiblility
In creating a truly must-buy proposition, you need to instill a degree of emotional – even financial – tension. Create so much desire and need that if the buyer opts out, the person feels guilty about letting a “once in a life time” opportunity get away.

To this point, for our client Rothschild Kids, a 100-plus year-old coat company, we recently held a 75% off weekend blow out sale on winter coats. The price/value was so hot that the sales far exceeded any of our expectations. PLEASE NOTE: If you are thinking it doesn’t take a genius to give it away, we couldn’t agree more. But we did liquidate inventory, drive cash flow, and get buzz that primes us for the spring season.

Mobile’s Point of Disruption
Everyone has a built-in way they navigate buying things at retail or online. The “point of sale” is not only one of the constantly studied and analyzed parts of commercial marketing, it’s also one of the most dynamic. The use of mobile/shopping apps has been nothing short of game changing in how people operate when shopping. Smart phones have enabled marketers to “disrupt” behavioral patterns by informing customers and providing real time choice – when the customer is already “hot, if not bothered.”

Being Real Human
Making everything emotional isn’t the point, but relating to and engaging deep emotional sentiment has always been a big thread of great marketing. Empathy today has almost become a buzzword, but “persona-fying” the individuals you are trying to engage is very helpful in imagining walking in or out of their shoes. And, we love the “what if” exercise as part of creating a grounded behavioral understanding of the human experience/persona.

In the Iterative Analysis
The opportunity to use data, measurement and real-time feedback loops to change early and if needed, often, is the way marketing works today. From search to social, all digital messaging and reach media is aligned to a continuous improvement model like never before. Keyword, algorithmic (Facebook has truly figured out how to push “like minded” ads!) and overall search optimization is finally the rocket science marketers used to moan they needed in the Nielsen-as-only-game-in-town days. Remember the saying (and I paraphrase), “Fifty percent of my advertising is working, I just don’t know which fifty percent”? It’s gone for good!

Relevancy is Currency
Because of the rolled-up analytics of Google search ads or Facebook page ads there is nothing haphazard about the commercial engagement. Ultra targeted and thinly sliced around interest and behavior- not random or demography centered- is why both companies have created near historic valuations. In commercial match-making if you can be relevant, you can get people to love you… a lot!

Given my favorite childhood show was “Bewitched”- my daughter is named after Samantha Stevens and her husband, Darren was an Ad guy working for an apparent two man shop McMann and Tate (McMann was really never seen!) I believe we in marketing today are playing with the combination of dark arts and illuminating science in profoundly new and magical ways. Who would have thunk it!


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