I get up around 6:30 and listen to the radio for 15 minutes. I go downstairs to make the coffee and turn on the morning television news. When my daughter gets up, we switch the TV to ‘educational’ cartoons.

Then it’s to the home office. I go to Google News and read the headlines. A few minutes later I check email, which usually includes messages from the local newpaper and the NY Times.

By 8 o’clock I am listening to MP3s on the computer, or maybe listening to nothing at all. On my way to meetings I am likely on the phone, or listening to a variety of radio stations, skipping through an entire commercial break.

When the day is done, I get the mail and watch the nightly national news for about 20 minutes.

With such a wide variety of media consumed throughout the day, and only short bits of each every here and there, how in the heck are YOU, the ADVERTISER, going to reach me? And keep me?

Well, if my guess for the not-so-distant future is correct, it will go something like this:

YOU will use the traditional media (radio, television / cable, newspapers, billboards) to SLOWLY attract me to your BRAND. As time passes, this will take longer and longer. Oh, and your message better solve a problem that I have. And you had better make it interesting.

Okay, so let’s assume after all this time, I get sucked into your message. And I want your product or service. My very next move is to search for your website.

Oh, you don’t have a website? Game over. I am frustrated by your inability to provide helpful information that I need. You lose. And I will likely search / find your competitor.

Oh, you have a website, but it sucks? Game over. I think you are unprofessional and don’t deserve my hard-earned money.

BUT let’s assume you have a decent site and you haven’t forced me to sit through a ridiculous ‘flash intro’… Let me see your product or service. Then show me the purchase options. And / or show me how to contact you by email, phone, and in person. That’s it. That’s all that I wanted.

But this is where the future of marketing comes into play.

Every day thousands of local businesses do business with thousands of local shoppers. People walk in, buy stuff, and leave. The vast majority of the time, the business makes little or no effort to gather customer information. What these businesses aren’t realizing is that these people, their very customers, are their bread and butter.

They need to collect their customers into a database. Whatever they can get, they should get. Name, street address, phone, email address, gender, age, what they bought, etc. They should get the year, make and model of the customer’s car. Do they have kids? Do they have pets? How are they dressed? What time of day did they visit? Did they only buy stuff that was on sale? How much did they spend? You could go on and on. The more the merrier. (Just keep the info safe.)

The more you know about an individual person, the better you can build a relationship with them. FACT: Better relationships have better transactions, and more of them.

Imagine you own a hardware store. You advertise on the radio. After a few months, I respond for a “Super Sale” you are having, and I buy a hammer.

Two months later, I visit again, to waste some time on a Saturday afternoon. Since you’re the owner, would you prefer that your sales associate…

A) knows nothing about me besides my obvious gender, general age, etc.


B) knows my gender, age to the year, that I own a home built in 1989, am married, have a young child, and recently purchased a hammer…

If you’re following along, you’d prefer ‘B’. You see, by knowing more about me, your salesman can easily start a conversation like, “Hey, how’s it going? Did that hammer work out for you? You know, last week we set up this backyard gym display. I thought it would look great in your back yard and that your daughter would really enjoy it. Would be a nice holiday gift… You could really spend a lot of time playing on it with her.”

This method of sales is going to sell more back yard gym sets than ever before. And it gets better:

Today’s technology allows YOU, the business owner, to not only keep track of this data, but to also use the data to send custom ad campaigns to your customers… as detailed as you wish… either over email, or through the snail mail. And soon, these custom message will come over cable TV as well.

In the past, advertisers might promote new kitchen countertops to thousands upon thousands of customers in the area. Today, the same advertiser can send custom messages to ONLY wealthy homeowners living in houses built between 1975 and 1990… And these same messages can be personalized to include my name and other ‘friendly’ information about me.

In the future, starting tomorrow, Traditional Media will be used to 1) encourage attention from prospective customers in general, and 2) make current customers in general feel good about having done business with you.

Plus, your website is a TOOL to 1) encourage new prospects to visit your store, either online or physical, and 2) allow existing customers to learn about your additional products and services.

And most importantly, businesses MUST collect 1) contact info, and 2) supporting data from their visitors and customers. This data is KEY for 1) developing relationships, 2) making custom sales pitches, and 3) staying in touch.

It is my opinion that approximately 80% of your future business is already doing business with you, and can refer you to others. You had better take care of that 80%.