Do you understand hair dryer marketing? It’s really simple, and you’re an experienced executive so you’ll get it straight away.
Last Wednesday evening the hair dryer went bang upstairs. Literally. So, we went online and searched ‘hair dryer + [model name]’ of the recently expired appliance. There were no direct matches but a trusted high street retailer appeared in the search results with an attractive range of alternatives.
A click through to their website,a good trawl through the image-heavy product gallery and a scan of the reviews written by their customers – and then it was ‘add to basket’.
A new hair dryer was en route. From electrical failure to purchase within 60 minutes. To home delivery in 24 hours.
The high-street didn’t stand a chance against the kitchen laptop. In fact we could have gone to the shops next day and bought one, but it was so easy to research and buy online that the store in town never even came to mind. Not much comfort to store manager as he looked at the mortgage, staff costs, business taxes and service charges this month and lost out to the convenience and ease of eCommerce.
But hey, you don’t sell hair dryers do you – so what’s the point of the story?
Well, you’ve been in business for some time now. You’re responsible for important elements of an organisation but do you really understand what happens online, or is it a bit of a mystery? Maybe your products or services are all going just fine as they are today. But it’s not going to be the same five years from now, or maybe even two years from now.
If you’re planning on being in your job as the leader for a while longer, then you really do need to get your head around the online/offline relationship. And if I can be quite blunt here, that doesn’t mean getting your agency to bring their iPad to a meeting and show you – I mean you need to get your head into it so that you can drive your agency.
Because the people in your team who do get it and live in the online/offline world look to you for direction and leadership. If you don’t understand the landscape, how can you decide which way to go? I have seen plenty of examples where senior, experienced executives with years of valuable sector knowledge have been offered the ‘special package’ and the chance to hone their gardening skills. All because they didn’t see the change coming and make the effort to learn new stuff.
It’s really not hard and you’ve probably learned much more difficult stuff in your career already – but it does need some of your time and commitment.
Here in the UK there are some great providers – the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing – where you can study in bite-size sessions, or take a diploma. There are dozens of other courses available from introductory through to high intensity learning and some really outstanding materials. Take a look, for example, at Dr Dave Chaffey’s Smart Insights website and you’ll see common sense and structured routes to knowledge.
In the automotive sector the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association is the leading provider of digital knowledge with more than 400 members in the UK and around the world, while the PRCA offers training across the spectrum.
So, where are you today on the digital journey? Are you ready for the Hair Dryer Marketing challenge?
Can you go to your office whiteboard right now and draw the journey your customers follow to buy your products? Show me how they travel online and offline before buying? How do the touch points all link up? Are your marketing materials all consistent and relevant? Which of the channels are the most effective?
If you can’t do it, just how are you sure that your marketing and communications spend is correct? And that your team has the right skills. And that you’re not wasting the company’s money on the wrong activities. Or that you’re missing whole groups of customers just like my wife, who don’t think of themselves as online customers – but are lost opportunities if you haven’t spotted their digital footprints. Just because the sales, acquisition, conversion and reputation charts look good today doesn’t mean they’re going to be right for tomorrow.
You’ve really got to get to grips with this or you’ll start to sink.
Three years ago I made a decision to catch up with the crowd and learn about the online environment and embrace the opportunities. Since then I have invested in knowledge and networking and have moved to the front of the pack and I make my living helping people cross the digital divide.Learning and embracing online activity is a fairly rapid process and actually a lot of fun. I work with the leadership team of organisations and open up a new world of revenue and new groups of customers for companies, securing the position of the senior executives.
The digital domain is a good place to be and I’m sure you can now see why Hair Dryer Marketing is really important to everyone in business.
You do need to embrace it.
But don’t leave it too long.
About Al Clarke – I am a marketing and communications specialist who has worked in the motor industry at board level since 1997. I have held senior positions in global brands such as Ferrari and the BBC including a decade working as a journalist.I am a member of the Institute of Directors, the Public Relations Consultants Association, an expert member of the digital community Smart Insights and Life President of the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association.I speak regularly in the field of marketing communications to businesses and the media with particular reference to digital media. Find me on Twitter @alclarkeltd and LinkedIn.