Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Hanifin Loyalty blog.
The latest viral internet storm caught my attention, but not for the reasons 85-year-old grandmother Marilyn Hagerty is making the rounds of morning network news shows.
The story, in case you missed it, is that Ms. Hagerty, a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald for the past 30 years, wrote an innocent yet generally-positive review of newly opened Olive Garden in her North Dakota town. The gatekeepers of the digisphere picked it up and decided she had violated some unwritten rule known only to them. Hence the viral coverage, as some made fun of her small town nature while others have stood up to defend her perspective.
The case of Ms. Hagerty provides a great example of how we can outwit ourselves: The criticism started on Gawker and spread throughout the new media world. More than likely, the authors of these outlets are housed in highly urbanized metroplex locations like New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami.
A quick view of census statistics shows that the top 50 cities represent about 15 percent of the total population. Of this, the critical "gateway" cities are about half of that.
The point: not all of us are chasing technology at the same pace and even fewer of us have interest in the many individual technologies that are becoming part of social loyalty schemes.
Tactics and technologies that lead to consumer engagement in New York and Miami may not merit a whisper in interior sections of our nation. And just like in political elections, we are reminded that every person's vote counts the same. That's why politicians campaign in places where they are neither comfortable or interested in outside of the campaign, and that's why retailers and others should adapt marketing strategy by region and population segment.
If there's one lesson I remember from the early days of loyalty marketing, it's that "not all customers are the same nor are they created equal." To be successful, you have to keep your audience in mind and be willing to go all-in with technology in some markets while sending out catalogs in others.
It's a wonderful world.
To what degree are many of the emerging social and technological marketing approaches irrelevant to the majority of Americans?