While we don’t have light sabers or time machines, the last decade has proven to consumers that science fiction has an eerie way of transforming future promises into reality. Moreover, it seems like the prosaic advancements in technology we see today are the very bytes of technology that would have the generations before us stunned in curiosity and be begging for more.
Pure optimization eventually leads to extinction. Big retailers are always trying to optimize some facet of the resources they have at their disposal. They optimize assortments, optimize marketing budgets, optimize shelf space, optimize inventory, optimize the supply chain… the list goes on and on.
If the advertising industry wasn’t already crammed with ill-advised commercials on smartphones and tablets, we now have to navigate a fractured market rife with challenges like streaming TV, illegal downloads, and even a device created to skip commercials.
Growing up, I knew “because my friends are doing it” wasn’t a good response to my parents asking, “David, why did you do that?” But as a child, logic often wasn’t a consideration. And yet, marketers seem to be using the same logic when it comes to the ubiquitous hashtag, six years into its livelihood.
In today’s socially driven, instant (eat cake/want cake too) society, shopping is a lot like dating. Consumers want the touch and feel of in-store shopping, but crave the instant savings and convenience of online shopping. Everyone has their type, but big retailers are struggling with finding that customer sweet spot between in-store personal experience and online love connections.
While not quite as egregious as sloth perhaps, marketers are selling their MBA souls for numerical support, lest their gut be their downfall. And so data, and especially big data, is the new silver bullet. But whether silver, copper, gold or brass, a bullet is not the only weapon in the marketers’ arsenal.