Information is marketing that works

Let’s say I’m searching for a local place to get a haircut. I find a bunch of results in my vicinity. Barber A and Barber B are the closest results. Barber A has a big fancy website as part of a chain, and includes a “store locator” feature which provides information about each location. The information provided is an address and phone number. Barber B has no website, but they’ve listed their operating hours on┬ámajor local search services. All I needed to know was an address and whether or not they were open. I’m going to Barber B. It’s amazing how many stores don’t list their hours.

While I’m out, I also want to get my car serviced. Garage A has a phone number, which I can call to see if I can book an appointment today. Garage B has a website which lets me see when the next appointment is available, and schedule it online. I’m going to Garage B.

Finally, I plan on ending my evening at the movies. Theater A only sells tickets at the box office. It’s a new release so I’d have to arrive early in case it gets sold out. Theater B sells tickets online so I’ll know if it’s already sold out, but they charge a $1 “convenience fee” on top of the ticket price for online purchases. Theater C sells tickets online at the box office price for matinees, and for regular tickets charges $1 less to thank me for ordering in advance. Theater C also has nicer auditoriums because their staff spends more time cleaning than they do dealing with long ticket lines. I’m going to Theater C.

Sometimes it’s a small investment (filling out store hours) and sometimes it’s a little more work (an online scheduling or commerce system), but in both cases, those who gave me the information and/or convenience I wanted got my (hypothetical, but based on true events) business. You may not be a technology company, but remember that people of my age or lifestyle won’t look for you in the newspaper, and we won’t call you either.

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