Marketing terrorism is becoming obsolete

Black Friday is over, today is Cyber Monday and tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. But this kind of marketing terrorism is becoming obsolete.

Obviously the marketing terrorism involving special days has worked – but it has worked not to increase total sales but only to shift consumption patterns. Sales are a little more concentrated on these days and to those stores who offer discounts. They encourage those chasing discounts but discourage those who don’t rely on the discount to make their purchases.

I suspect that rather than representing additional sales which would not otherwise happen, these “discount” days have only shifted buying – which would have happened anyway – to be concentrated to these “special” days and to those stores with the largest discounts. Imbuing artificial meaning into Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, the invention of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, having special “Sales” days after Christmas and the New Year, have all certainly served to change consumption patterns. But they have not really contributed to increasing the total sales. With the new buying pattern no store can afford to be the one that nobody comes to. I suspect also that the increased sale of discounted goods on these special days at just a particular store or chain is no longer worth the additional advertising and promotion costs.

But this kind of marketing is already obsolete. There is no more to be gained by inventing a Brother’s Day or a Sister’s Day or a Cousin’s day or a Children’s Day. On-line information gathering and on-line shopping have taken over. High street stores and even stores in shopping malls are increasingly showrooms for goods where the sales are actually consummated on-line. A few stores have caught on. They are converting their stores to become places to view goods and services and places to pick-up the goods bought on-line. They have realised that the “consumer commitment” has shifted from the store. The real capture of the sale happens on-line and no longer in the store. The store still has a role to play but this role is changing. The store needs to complement the on-line presence and to provide those bits that are missing from the on-line experience (viewing the goods and delivery of the goods). Walk-ins to the store have to be led inexorably to the web-site.

Those who have caught on have realised that the on-line store is open 24/7. The web site has to do an “IKEA” and ensure that the visitor is led through every part of the site and that he willingly parts with his money as he comes across little extras as he buys!!

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