Was blind, but now I see. No this not the “Through The Bible Hour”, and we will not be visiting the remainder of the song “Amazing Grace” although the epiphany that has evoked the title of this article is possibly as profound as some spiritual experiences. The awaking, as it were, for me was the advent of permission marketing. Having been a product of the ‘60’s where the momentum of interruption marketing, particularly on TV, hit its peak, we were chained to our Chesterfield’s (that’s a couch for you millennials) and fed a steady diet of Coca-cola, Downey fabric softener, and Winston cigarettes. There was no escape. Marlon Perkins was extolling the virtues of Mutual of Omaha while wrestling Orangutans in Sumatra, Ronald Regan was spewing forth 20 Mule Team Borax, and Lloyd Bridges was ironically hawking Standard Oil on his aquatic action/adventure show Sea Hunt.
There was no TiVo. There were no means to zap commercials. The television volume was elevated to the point that even if you ran to the refuge of the kitchen for a Dr. Browns Cream Soda, the message followed you. This was the golden age of push marketing, and it was one of the most amazing phenomena to ever smack the unsuspecting public square in the jaw. Second only to junk mail and Jehovah’s witnesses for obnoxious tenacity, the caissons of Madison Avenue rolled through our collective living rooms like Rommel marching to the sea. Since much of the advertising was institutional by nature (see the USA in a Chevrolet) it was damned near impossible to track, so with the absence of solid metrics the under girding philosophy became “more is better.”
My brother-in-law ( one of those young Gen X’ers) asked me the other day to explain the difference between push and pull marketing. What was described in the above paragraphs was definitely PUSH marketing. Eventually what it made us all do was push back. It’s gotten to the point that every program I watch is pre-recorded so I can fast forward through the fray, every pop-up they try to send my computer is disabled, and my wife and kids are the only ones that have my correct iPhone number.
So how, you say, does one reach a potential customer now days? As they say in some of the twelve step programs, attraction rather than promotion. That means content, lots and lots of great content. They have to want to come to you, so the only way to make that happen is to have something to come to. Ironically, and synonymously, there has to be a “where” for prospects to go before they can go “there.” It might be your website, your blog, or a social media site, but there needs to be some central place on the internet where your brand resides. Since many of us rarely darken the halls of a brick and mortar “store” if avoidable, the cyber locations make far more sense. The only problem is that there are so darn many of them, the search algorithms that take folks to different sites are getting so complicated that I’m not sure even Google understands half of what it does. How does your average Joe that owns a “mom and pop” family business establish a presence worth the effort? More to follow.