Good marketers keep playing field tilted


John DaltonOnce upon a time there was a level playing field for all retail stores. It seemed like a wonderful idea when suppliers told everyone selling their goods that the price would be the same everywhere. This, they reasoned, allowed all retailers to have the same opportunity to sell their products.

The outlets would compete by demonstrating their product knowledge and offering quality service at point of sale. The suppliers knew this would enable them to expand their distribution network in more market places.

But soon some of the retailers began to move much more product than the rest while many outlets sold nothing. The suppliers realized that the sales were not evenly distributed. When they measured the results, they all came up with the same statistics: 20% of the retailers were selling 80% of the products, and 80% of the outlets were producing 20% of the sales.

The result was the level playing field wasnt happening. The 80/20 rule was.

Of course, the 80% said they were losing their customers to the 20% that were discounting. But discounting was not the strategy of all of the top sellers. Many never mentioned price in their marketing and still continued to dominate their marketplace.

This brings me to the cruise-pricing level playing field most travel agents think is going to help them sell more cruises by not having to compete against discounters. These agencies and cruise lines soon will realize it is not pricing that will drive new cruise clients. It will be the agencies delivering the most powerful and consistent marketing messages. Those are the retailers that will fill ships and continue to fuel growth in the cruise industry.

There are many opinions being voiced in favor of and against the new advertising policies as they relate to pricing. Few relate to marketing. Im betting that those retailers to which the cruise lines are referring as selling a disproportionate number of cruises will continue to be the top sellers. Im also betting that the majority of agencies again will disappoint the lines with their lack of production.

When the 20% of the retailers selling 80% of the product step onto a new level playing field, they will kick up their marketing expertise and maintain their dominant position. If youd like to join them, design creative marketing that will motivate people to cruise.

Solve your clients everyday problems in your marketing. When people purchase something and say, It was worth it, you can bet your life price was not the motivator.

John Dalton is an industry consultant, trainer and speaker. He can be contacted at (919) 557-3844 or by e-mail at [email protected].


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