Active Versus Passive Marketing

There are basically two types of marketing: passive and active. Passive marketing is bottom of the barrel marketing where one is simply keeping up with competitors or implementing ideas based on internal pressures. For example, if your CEO asks to increase email channel sales contribution from 5% to 6% and you respond by increasing email messaging frequency by 20% then you are a passive marketer. An active marketer is someone who would take that CEO directive and improve Average Order Value without increasing send frequency.

I was reading an article about the success of the Starbucks app and that story nicely illustrates this point. Let’s look at two scenarios:

Passive scenario: (Made up example) Starbucks launches their app and sends a press release touting the fact that 14 million customers use their Starbucks app every week. This is the so lame, Starbucks has over 100 million customers and if 14 million use the app once a week that means nothing. Basically, the app is leveraging existing demand. If the app created new demand, now that would be impressive.

Active scenario: Starbucks launches their app and sends a press release that talks about how their app uses personalization. Their personalization algorithm uses weather and time of day data to make offers. It could offer a discount for iced coffee when it’s unexpectedly hot outside. Or, if a customer aways gets just one type of coffee the app could make a special offer so the customer can be marketed a higher margin item. This is a great example of active marketing because Starbucks app has taken a situation where the customer might not be actively thinking about getting a Starbucks and nudged them in that direction.

Looked another way, active marketing is when you are able to take a customer who doesn’t want to take an action and gently convince them otherwise.

What type of marketer are you?

The 4 Forces

If you’re a marketer you need to tattoo this in your mind. The diagram below is used to understand the forces that are at play when a consumer is considering purchasing a new product or service:

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The 4 forces are:

– The Push of the Current Situation
– The Pull of the New Solution
– The Anxiety of the New Solution
– The Allegiance to the Current Situation

It’s a framework used by The Re-Wired Group.

Site Search

If your site has a search box and a user enters multiple search terms (one after another), it tells us two things: a.) they are motivated, b.) they are having a difficulty locating their target item.

When this happens you need to show them a really well-written message that suggests they speak with a product specialist. These people are frustrated, serious buyers.

Why Curiosity Matters

Bob Moesta is a curious person. He was involved in home building and selling condos. His condos were designed based on the stated needs of their target audience (ranch style, 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath, granite countertops, hardwood floor, etc.) But still, a big percentage of interested people didn’t pull the trigger.

Bob wanted to understand why.

He discovered people who were moving into this condo were moving from bigger homes and were anxious about the downsizing process. They simply didn’t know how to pack up 20 to 30 years of stuff that had been collected. Important, nostalgic stuff. They didn’t know how to purge collected memories. So people would say things like, “Boy, we don’t know how we’re going to downsize. We’ll need to cancel on the condo because we need another year to figure out how to downsize”.

Here is what Bob did: he raised the price of the condo and included (in price of condo) moving plus 2 years of storage. Result? Sales went up 17%.

Be more like Bob when thinking about your ecommerce business.