Thinking Outside the (Big) Box

I came very close to using a phrase I vowed never to use on this blog, but I couldn't help myself!

I contend that marketing is rather simple. It's marketers that make it complex, over analyze situations, or otherwise screw it up. A great of example of observing, learning, and responding in a straightforward way was featured in a recent issue of Business Week. Big box electronics retailer Best Buy is breaking from traditional top-down marketing planning by getting more input from stores about the product mix in each location. Among examples mentioned in the article were moving the location of iPods to the front of the store in a Houston area Best Buy to accomodate Eastern European ship workers on leave and a Savannah, Georgia store expanding its offerings of products targeting soldiers that will be returning in the coming months.

These adjustments to marketing strategy could be made because Best Buy managers had a good understanding of shoppers' buying behaviors in their markets. Such observations are impossible to make from corporate offices. This shift to market level action falls in line with Best Buy's "Customer Centricity" strategy. Yes, control is ceded to the field to a certain extent. But, if managers hired to make decisions cannot be trusted to do so, a company has bigger problems than where strategy decisions are being made.

I saved the best for last. A Best Buy store in Mooresville, NC, invited a seniors group to the store one morning before opening for a demonstration of products. A group of 85 showed up and bought $350,000 worth of products. The store manager indicated his costs totaled $99 for labor, doughnuts, and coffee. That is ROI that one can only dream of achieving! What small investments could you make that could potentially deliver an unexpected return?

Link: Business Week - "At Best Buy, Marketing Goes Micro"