I’ll have that answer for you in a Jiffy!
As marketers, we often take for granted things we see as common sense (or, to be more business applicable, best practice). Our goal, no, our mission in life, is to create an unparalleled experience that helps the consumer fall in love with our products and services that wins their loyalty for life at the maximum value and margin we can drive out of the engagement. We plan. We plot. We strategize different ways to drive them into our stores. We talk about experience and value, and use KPI’s like retention and customer satisfaction to gauge our efficacy.
But, like I said, sometimes, we take the smallest things for granted, and then when we are challenged to provide answers that support our success, we struggle. Let me give you a case in point. It takes a bit of setup, but trust me, there’s a method to the ramble.
Back in 2010, we started the annual tradition of hosting a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Party. For those of you who have either forgotten or never watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special, here’s the quick rundown: Charlie Brown gets boxed into having Thanksgiving at his house for his friends, enlists his best bud Linus and his dog Snoopy to create the feast, which is comprised of Jelly Beans, Pretzels, Toast, and Ice Cream Sundaes. There’s a blow up where Peppermint Patty says this isn’t right, Linus reminds them of what Thanksgiving is all about, then they head to Charlie Brown’s grandmother’s for a real feast. Roll credits.
So six years ago, we started recreating the whole experience. We’d watch the special, then ‘recreate’ the feast. As parties go, it’s probably the easiest food to prepare. Only one item requires oven use, and 100% of it is appealing to all ages. What can go wrong, right? Well, let me tell you, there’s something that always does. In this case, it’s finding the elusive treat known as Jiffy Pop. For those of you who recall the scene, Snoopy stands over the stove in chef’s hat and apron, watching in horror as the silver foil on top of the aluminum pan grows larger and larger with each pop, ultimately filling the room with popcorn. It’s one of the most iconic scenes in the show, and you absolutely can’t have the feast without Jiffy Pop.
What I fail to remember every November (for those of you keeping track, that’s now six years running) is that it’s always a herculean effort to find Jiffy Pop. Our usual grocery store doesn’t carry it, and with life being the way it is, I never remember that we need to get it until the day before the party, which always negates the usual Amazon.com to the rescue play. This past November was true to my usual form. It’s the afternoon before the party, and I have yet to buy Jiffy Pop. My husband jumps to the rescue, grabbing his handy tablet to search for Jiffy Pop.
What follows is an actual, chronological listing of that effort:
- Google ‘Jiffy Pop’
- Follow link to Jiffy Pop site, use store finder to identify nearest 10 locations. Chain identified is closed.
- Google “Jiffy Pop” again. Click on first link with store in proximity (Walmart).
- Walmart link leads directly to the product page, where store locator shows that product is in stock at nearest location.
At that point, we bundle into the car and head out to load up on feast necessities. That’s when my husband drops the bomb. “You have to wonder if they ever stop to look at the efficiency of their marketing tools,” he says. “I mean seriously, how are they ever going to know that I went looking for Jiffy Pop, clicked through, and did or did not convert?” (Sidebar: yes, we are both marketers. No, I did not change a single part of that question. Dinner at our house can be quite a scary thing).
Remember that point I made about common sense and planning? What just played out above are two different scenarios, and the question my husband posed is no different than the one you are asked at least once a week:
- What are the tactics you take to engage your customers and drive product/service engagement?
- Are your efforts successful?
In the first example, using the store finder and list of local outlets provided by the manufacturer, we hit a brick wall. If it wasn’t something I considered essential, it would have been easy enough to say “you know, it’s not a big deal. I don’t really need it.” A sale would be lost, and there would be no real way to quantify if those efforts did or did not work.
Now, in the second example, the ground work is there to see where I came from (Google search, click through to the site), but there’s no way to link my transaction in the Walmart in North Olmsted, Ohio with that search for Jiffy Pop that resulted in a Walmart.com page hit. Or is there? (Another admission, I might have used the frost on the window of my car to illustrate this point. Like a said, two marketers in a marriage is a scary thing).
Historically, we could provide the information online, and short of looking at metrics regarding page visits or unit sales, there would be no way to know to link the online anonymous search executed with the transaction in store. Because we had those constraints, we accepted the gap in information as the norm, and move on to solving other problems, which means that we can get back to some of the simplest root questions like the one my husband posed in the car about marketing efficiency and conversion.
While it’s still ten months out, I’m hoping that when I go through the annual Jiffy Pop wild goose chase in November of 2016, the experience outlined above will be different. At bare minimum, easily being able to find product local (on the first try!) would be great. My dream, advanced marketing to me, knowing that buy that specific product every November, reminding me that I should probably pick it up more than 24 hours before the actual event. Now that would be a memorable experience that would tickle me, not just as a marketer, but as an incredibly busy consumer, too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a craving for popcorn.