Make a left here.
I’m in violent agreement with Tim Suther, the marketing chief at Acxiom, the consumer data company. I’ve always believed that Groundhog Day, one of Bill Murray’s best, is the greatest marketing movie of all time. And I wish to hell I’d written it here first instead of being reminded by Suther, who beat me to it at a recent Wharton Business School conference. Better late than never.
Murray plays a guy who relives the same day endlessly. After he realizes what’s happening, he starts finding things out about the people around him. At first it’s a game, then he gets serious. He makes a point of putting his knowledge into useful action by applying his new ability to anticipate their every whim, quirk and need. One person’s in particular. A fetching young woman who, at first, will have nothing to do with him. In the end, he wins her trust. And then her heart. So what does this have to do with marketing? Everything. Which today is quite a bit.
The more you know about the people to whom you sell, those to whom you want to appeal and stand out from the countless other sellers who bombard those same people with ceaseless messages of every kind, the greater your chances of success. Anticipating your customers’ needs and desires, knowing the value most relevant and compelling to them, delivers a significant competitive advantage in the new customer democracy of online marketing and selling. In the words of Emil Faber, founder of Faber College for you Animal House fans, knowledge is good. In marketing, it’s pre-requisite.
As for Acxiom, they finally answered the age-old question of how much money is wasted on brand advertising. Exactly $112 billion per year, give a take a few hundred mil, including the four out of five online ads that never touch their desired audience! In Suther’s words, “a truly awful, awful performance”. Emil Faber could not have been more succinct.