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I've been following the Selfridges TV series and, although it's great, there's something that really bugs me about it. It feels like, as marketers, we spend a lot of time re-learning how to do marketing well? In case you've not seen it, the simplistic take on what Harry Gordon Selfridge believed is to… build your business (and so your promotion of it) around the customer.
Over 100 years ago, retailers such as Harry Gordon Selfridge and John Wanamaker - credited with being the inventor of advertising and a marketing genius, alongside pioneering advertising men such as Claude C Hopkins who wrote Scientific Advertising in 1923 - seem to have had marketing licked. Browse popular marketing sites today though, and you'll see these lessons being shared as original thinking.
As operational thinking throttles brands to death (look at faded UK brands like Republic, GAME, Blockbuster, HMV, Jessops and JJB - businesses who made the High St only 10 years ago) I can only conclude that we're not learning? These brands focus on their undifferentiated or average products and the media and channels to promote them. New tools simply become advertising 2.0 instead of new opportunity to engage a customer.
In a world where the customer is in control of your brand, where they have the ability to make choices, there's a drive today of greater focus on the customer. Through using (big) data, on personalised, targeted and automated CRM and of course social media for 'out-reach' as well as listening. We talk about creating experiences, engaging users, telling stories and encouraging user interaction. Yet the lesson remains pretty simple…
“People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.”
― Harry Gordon Selfridge
Think of the power we have to do this today, and what someone like Selfridge would have done with it. So what are you doing?
Here are 5 obvious things that Selfridge did, that so many other brands today fail miserably at:
Focussing on the customer, who'd have thought it.
By Danyl Bosomworth
Dan helped to co-found Smart Insights in 2010 and acted as Marketing Director until leaving in November 2014 to focus on his other role as Managing Director of First 10 Digital. His experience spans brand development and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side for nearly 20 years. Creative, passionate and focussed, his goal is on commercial success whilst increasing brand equity through effective integration and remembering that marketing is about real people. Dan’s interests and recent experience span digital strategy, social media, and eCRM. You can learn more about Dan’s background here Linked In.
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