Seth Godin gets credit for coining the term “connection economy” and has talked about it extensively in his writing and public speaker. The concept is that value is created by making connections rather than by pumping widgets out of the end of an assembly line. To maintain ongoing momentum for and marketing success with programs and services, retail RDs must master the skill of connecting with shoppers.
The key question Godin suggests you ask yourself is whether you are invisible or remarkable. In today’s economy, all media and marketing is now optional. People choose which tweets to view, delete junk email without watching it, and avoid all television commercials except those shown during the Super Bowl. Additionally, the mass market no longer really exists. You have to understand the subsets, the tribes, and what they’re needs are. The highest priority in being remarkable is focusing on what matters to your key audience.
To be remarkable and leverage a connections economy, you must rethink what it means to be a marketer. Central to the concept of creating connections is the exchange of ideas. It’s no longer about putting information or ideas in front of your clients and customers; it’s about exchanging ideas with them. Think about professional conferences as an example. You learn the most from the exchange of ideas with others, the discussions about topics involving your industry. The same holds true for shoppers. They want the exchange, the dialogue, the sharing. The internet is a connection machine. All sites that have been most successful – Facebook, eBay, email) are about an exchange in one form or another.
Consider what you can do in your role to create connections, and as a result, drive engagement in your retail RD programs and services. Hy-Vee’s DISH program allows groups of friends or neighbors to schedule a custom session just for their tribe. This allows them to accomplish an important task for their families while checking in with their tribe. The Jewel Osco dietitians are live streaming video. Every time an in-store dietitian engages with a shopper in the aisles of the store, she is creating a connection (and should leverage this engagement to promote other programs and services).
Connections create value. Consumers will pay for services they value.