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The Heart and "Sole" of Marketing?

At the start of the last school year, my mum and I went to Clarks Shoe Shop to buy both children new school shoes.

We arrived to be told that we had at least a 15 minute wait. That’s 15 minutes for two adults to entertain two bored children, which we could just about manage (my mum being a pro at these matters!). 15 minutes turned into well over an hour in the shop by the time two children had their feet measured, tried on various pairs of shoes, interrogated the sales assistant over which shoes came with toys (that was the kids, not my mum or me), and then repeated the exercise with plimsoles, although at least there’s only one design of those!

In that long hour plus, I did manage to spy a nice looking handbag (anyone who knows me personally, knows I can’t resist a new bag, even though I have plenty already) and some great looking purple shoes (although, admittedly, I would have to buy a new outfit to go with them).

Unfortunately though, given that we’d reached the absolute limit of the kids’ attention spans and boredom threshold, AND given that the shop was heaving with other children in the same state, there was no way that I could ever have spent a few peaceful minutes looking at the bag in more detail or trying on the shoes, and considering whether I did actually have anything in my wardrobe at home that might justify the purchase. (Girls?I know you’re with me on this one!!)

However, the Clarks’ marketing team have thought this through. I will even forgive them for coming up with the idea of putting cheap, tiny plastic toys in school shoes for this one. And that is they give all the mums (parents!) a leaflet with 20% discount off adult footwear and bags as long as you bought before the 2nd of the following month.

Superb! So, as soon as the kids are back at school, I can go in and shop in peace and quiet, and spend my hard earned cash with them. And as I’ll have then got over the shock of the second mortgage that’s required to pay for school shoes, then I will probably spend more with them!

OK, so in reality, I personally may not: I was looking forward to getting back to 5 days a week work, and I don’t really need another bag (do I??). However, there are plenty who will take Clarks up on this offer, and will help boost their sales in what, I suspect, could otherwise be a quiet month.

From a marketing point of view, Clarks have thought about the mindset of their target audience, and instead of trying to get a sale when the parents are in the shop completely stressed out buying school shoes, they’ve incentivised them to come back when it’s quiet. Which means the spend will be higher, and they’ll get an additional purchase out of the customer without having to spend anything on promotion, other than the printing of leaflets and some attentive staff. In my case, the manager overheard me pointing out the bag to my mum and gave me the leaflet, and told me about the discount.

So, the [marketing] moral of the story here is really understand your customer and how and when they buy. It is also to encourage existing customers to come back and buy more from you: it is, on average, about eight times cheaper to get existing customers to spend more with you, than to acquire new customers.

Marketing often gets talked about in terms of “getting new customers” (or “customer acquisition” in marketing speak), but you should spend a great deal of your marketing efforts on keeping your current customers and encouraging and incentivising them to spend again with you, also known as “customer retention”.

So, I will finish by asking you – where does all your marketing effort and spend go? Is it now time to think differently?!

Have a great week!
Dedicated to yoru success,

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