Oh, You Think Marketing Actually Works?

“We need a new couch” my wife informed me as we sat down to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones.  “Wait, what?” I said not really interested in going through the process of having to do everything you have to do when making a major investment.  “I just want to watch Thrones and go to bed I said”.  “Ok” my wife said with a wiley smile.  “We need a new mattress too by the way”.

So with those two statements my lovely wife was telling me it was time to research some new purchases.  Now, as a marketer of my client’s businesses, I know full well how advertising and marketing work.

Step One:  I go online and start doing some research

Step Two:  I start looking at furniture dealers in my area and start looking at websites that hopefully have what I’m looking for.

Step Three:  We get in the car (I don’t need a new one of those thank heavens) and we start shopping.

Step Four:  We make our decisions, pay for it, arrange delivery and that’s basically it.

Hold on though.  There are so many things that happen in-between these steps.

For example-

After I do some searches and click on some sites I start to get retargeted with ads reminding me to come back and shop some more.  Perfectly fine.  I tell clients all the time that remarketing is part of the consumer journey.  Some ads are ok.  Some are obnoxious.  Some I’m oblivious on.

As we go in and out of the half dozen furniture places we’ve chosen to shop, I start getting mobile ads on my phone and I quickly realize that the stores we’ve been shopping in have found our Phone ID’s and are now sending us mobile ads.  Some of these ads wind up in Weather Channel App, some in the Texas Holdem’ site I frequent, some even wind up in my Facebook and Instagram feeds.  Mobile marketing is a real thing.  I know this because the research tells me that and smart retailers are picking up on this tactic.

So in the course of the weekend we went shopping for a new couch and a new mattresses we got marketed to online pretty heavily.

Now I’m not a brand loyal guy when it comes to furniture.  I’ve shopped before at the big chains and mom and pops and I see the TV ads and hear the radio Ads.  I see the billboards but frankly I’m not paying attention until I’m in the market.  Are those ads wasted?  Not really, they do build brand awareness so when I go online and search for “Furniture Stores In My Area” I’m certainly aware of Ashley Furniture and some of the others.  So, their branding dollars are certainly hard at work grabbing my attention.  Mind you, I don’t make a purchase because of it.  In fact, I don’t think I make a purchase because of anything I’m doing online either.  I don’t think.

Now here’s the real interesting part.  My wife is the decision maker.  Not me.  Sure, she does a good job making me feel part of the process but I’m disinterested for the most part, don’t have the patience she does and not paying attention while going through this.  So when I see the ads on TV, hear them on radio, get retargeted online, find ads in my apps and when I’m on Facebook I get it but that doesn’t change the fact that my wife is the superstar decision maker.

So, I check in with her and it turns out she’s been doing her own searches, get retargeted, getting mobile ads on her social media feeds and sees the same TV spot, hears the same radio spots and catches the same billboards as me.

Now I could debrief her on the social, psychological and overall marketing impact of all that but I don’t.  I like my marriage and creating a human case study off my wife doesn’t make for good bedroom talk.

The big takeaway (other than my depleted check book) is how the consumer purchasing journey really works and how we as both consumers and marketers have to understand that NOT ONE SINGLE PLATFORM.  NOT ONE SINGLE IMPRESSION, VIEW OR CLICK is going to secure my hard earned money just because I saw or heard or clicked on an ad.

The reality is though, when I’m in the market (or more precisely, when my wife is in the market) the ads become hyper relevant and marketers never know exactly when that is going to be.


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