Yesterday Jim Barnes, author of Build Your Customer Strategy, came around after a customer advisory event to share his thoughts. His emphasis on understanding the emotional reason for shopping as well as the mechanics of developing a marketing plan was a good reminder to remember what marketing is all about - satisfying needs to everyone's mutual benefit.
His three oxymoron points were also worth a note or two.
- Planned Spontaneity - the idea is to recognize a consumer problem that she doesn't know she has and then solve it. Customer service stories abound around this topic but there is merit in thinking about how intermittent reinforcement as a strong motivator actually transforms into word-of-mouth. We tell everybody about these events.
- Future Memories - this is often the real reason we buy, particularly when it comes to disposable income. That $50 jar of squid ink wasn't just used to make fresh pasta with octopus, it was for a dinner party with friends.
- Proactive Hindsight - by understanding what a consumer will think about after the purchase we can orchestrate the present help to avoid bad decisions. This often involves providing advice and guidance as much as a product, e.g. financial services.