Monday, July 14, 2008

Reaching consumers where they are

"Build it and they will come" is a business mantra that I wish would die a quick death. I am amazed by how often retailers and service providers believe that the customer needs to seek them out. With so many choices and so little time, companies need to be proactively tracking their customers to find out where they are, and then doing whatever they can to get their products and services in front of them in compelling ways.

I read a post on one of the blogs today that was written by Rich Sloan, of the founders of StartUpNation. In the post, he describes a recent outing to Costco where he found AMC movie tickets available at a slight discount. He and his wife weren't even considering seeing a movie, but it was clearly saving a bit of money for them and would provide them with an experience later on that they'd both enjoy. If not for that display, the couple would have had to decide to see a movie, then look up the times, dates, location, etc. of the closest movie showing a movie they were interested in. With a slight discount in a store where the couple was already shopping, AMC reached out to them and gave them an idea for a night out.

Well played, AMC. And a lesson for all of us in business. The rules of the game have changed: we must do everything we can to offer differentiated, timely benefits to consumers in a convenient package.

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