Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Man or the machine? Predicting the winner

I brought up the success of Redbox this morning and asked, "How many have seen a Blockbuster or a Hollywood Video location go out of business in your neighborhood?"

The response was unanimous. Everyone.

"RedBox proves you can rent videos without employees," I continued, and drew a further conclusion that we will see growth in our business in self-serve advertising. One rep noted we already accept ads online and the customers receive a discount.

The Room—filled with media sales reps—exhaled a collective hee-bee-gee-bee shudder. How can we compete with the machine and its discounts, they wondered.

"Should I find a new career?" asked one respected rep. The question hung in the space between panic and next steps.

"You could," I said.

"Or, you could realize that Redbox would not survive and thrive if there wasn't a ton of marketing for every video in their kiosk. That marketing is not created by machines. It is crafted by creative minds. Our world is still hinged on people and what people can create.

"Sales people need to create the correlation between product and value," I stated, and summed up my recommendations:
Be vital. No machine can replace your expertise, drive for your own success, and desire to help customers succeed.

Keep customers bound to YOU. They may get something cheaper somewhere else...but will it work?!

Assess what works, not just in online but in an overall media campaign. Duplicate what works for your customers.

Study, learn and share. Help your customers understand the changing landscape and demonstrate the value of our products. If you are only contacting your customer to update an expiration date on their ad, you are missing an opportunity to demonstrate YOUR value.

What you don't sell today, will disappear tomorrow if you don't pounce on it. If you lag, someone else will grab your opportunities. Be a pro. Be first!
How is online changing your business?