The Lost Art Of Conversation

greg sleter headshotOver the past few weeks, I’ve had several discussions with my friends on the PR side of the world regarding what feels like a decrease in marketing efforts across the housewares industry.

It was something that was first brought to my attention back in March at the Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. One of my usual questions of suppliers, when they launch new products, focuses on how they will market the item’s features and benefits to consumers.

This year, however, the answers overall were vague. Most noted an effort on social media, and others talked about new packaging designs. But there was little talk of larger media campaigns to hit a broad audience of home cooks that today are looking for unique products to fit their specific needs.

Social media has been the fallback for most product suppliers. Those that have developed successful social media marketing campaigns are now able to interact directly with consumers who are not shy about offering opinions and ideas about new products. But social media is time-consuming and if done wrong, could prove to be a waste of resources.

What’s interesting is the impact social media has had on marketing as a whole. Everyone today is tied into metrics and social media outlets do offer ways to track how well a campaign is performing. But that shouldn’t discount the human element to marketing. Companies, at times, get so focused on what they think is important they often miss a bigger and more marketable topic that is more interesting to retailers or consumers.

I recently had a conversation with a long-time friend and PR veteran. We were discussing a company her agency represents and the client wanted to focus on the company’s history. I suggested, instead, a focus on what the company is doing today and a discussion on what it is doing to differentiate itself in today’s competitive marketplace. She liked that idea.

Metrics and analytics are great, but they should not be the end-all when it comes to marketing decisions. Good-old human interaction is still an effective way to develop new ideas.