Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Contextual Marketing
in Grocery Store and Classroom


Remember, it's all about relevance ... what matters to the audience.

My mom and dad ran a small, independent grocery store when I was growing up. It was a good business, mostly because they were such a good entrepreneurial team. Mom ran the business side and dad did the customer relationship thing. He did it instinctively -- no training, in fact he only went to school through the sixth grade when he had to become the main breadwinner for a family of eight. He started out as a golf club caddy and then became a baker and then opened the Highway Del. A good business despite the armed robbery. A good business where dad knew every customer. He knew their stories. He knew their needs. He could talk with them about whatever was on their minds. And because he cared so genuinely about their needs, they were incredibly loyal to the store. The perfect role model for CRM. So I inherited this contextual marketing stuff naturally.

My daughter's got it, too. She's an art teacher at an elementary school and has 600 kids. From her perspective, she's a salesperson for fine art. Every week, she gets an hour with each student and she wants to stimulate their creative minds and spur an interest in drawing, sculpting, weaving, painting, calligraphy, all those expressive media. She takes each student at their individual levels. With the first graders, she is so animated it reminds me more of a stage play or a locker room than a classroom. She knows each student and appeals to each from where they are. The kids come away excited about expressing their creativity.

That's what relevance is all about. Your pitch should be enveloped inside the customer's situation and interests. Start there and you can teach them why you deserve their trust and the relationship can grow. Compare that approach to most websites that treat all visitors alike, that propel them immediately into your features ... and see why they leave in two clicks ... nothing there to capture their interest. Or do as my dad and daughter ... appeal to their intersts, show them slowly how you can help them achieve their goals ... take them one step at a time and win them for a lifetime.

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