Respond Less. Lead More. A Challenge to Marketers

I’m disappointed to say that I have already received several emails this morning, from leading retailers, in response to Amazon’s #PrimeDay. The copy states some version of "no membership required” and offers a forgettable promotion of some sort. When I clicked-thru to view the offer (because hey, everyone wants a deal), I find a single SKU, discounted by an unimpressive amount, that would only appeal to a narrow set of customers – even their most brand-loyal.


I’m not sure that kind of approach is going to keep brands afloat in this hyper-competitive retail environment. This is why Amazon is the leader. And good or bad, it’s the same reason Trump is president. We spend too much time responding to what is loudest, instead of trumpeting our own authentic voices and stories - no matter how small or seemingly unimportant. They are important! This tactic of piggybacking off of someone else's offer might have worked ten years ago, even five years ago, but not today. It's as played-out as the "snowed in?" emails you expect during winter storms. Especially within an industry that now requires disruption and original creative thinking to effectively stand-out and resonate with younger generations.

Do brands really believe that millennials are going to stop their day, and convert against a SKU which you had excess inventory of, just because it was framed between some “clever” messaging (not clever at all) and visuals? I’d like to challenge retailers everywhere (and their agency partners) to not play the RESPOND game anymore, but to think laterally and originally, and LEAD the conversations. Many are already doing this, and those are the marketing campaigns that I personally enjoy. But going after Amazon on PrimeDay (of all days), with a sleepy response-offer, is like shooting a small hole in the boat you are crossing the ocean in.

Think different. Receive attention (and sales) for something authentic - because that is what works these days. And when you get that message all primed-up (bad pun I know) in your ESP, go ahead and send me that email. We'll appreciate it. Promise.

+ NOTE: I orginally published this on LinkedIn, you can view that published post here