Marketers play 'spot the brand'

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Prospecting foránew customers is essential, but because of shrinking list universes it has become a greater challenge for direct marketers, catalogers and retailers to attract new customers.

Common sense tells us if you are paying for a premium retail space, why not let everyone see what you have to offer? Recently an Abercrombie & Fitch storefront in an upscale Florida mall displayed only a partial view of a male model through wooden shutters. What was Abercrombie & Fitch thinking when they put shutters in front of their retail stores? While it does differentiate their storefront from others in the mall, it blocks the shopper's view of the merchandise for sale.

At another mall, it was difficult to find the J. Crew store because there was no sign on the storefront. The manager said: "J. Crew wants our image to be recognized without signage."

Who believes this stuff? Basic brand awareness equals signage.

These examples illustrate how marketing departments can lose sight of what their goal should be: making the sale. The silo effect is preventing an open dialog between the various departments. Consumers receive a mixed message and lose interest in the product offered. How can they become loyal customers if they don't have a clear idea of what is being offered and by whom?

Consider using a back-to-basics approach. A thorough review of the message from all marketing mediums should be done. Is the Web site a reflection of the store or catalog? Is it easy to navigate? Or are customers abandoning their shopping carts? Do the store and catalog offer the same merchandise?

By keeping it simple and sending the same message through the marketing media, brand recognition and customer loyalty is greatly realized.

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