Anticipatory versus Predatory Marketing

Predators are better in the movies than on the streets (source)

There are two forms of marketing out there.

The first is what I call Predatory Marketing. Almost every company and business selling to a consumer does this to some extent.

Like a pack of wolves hunting for fresh meat, predatory marketers venture to where their targeted customers are. And then they strike where they least expect it - on the streets, in your homes, in your email inboxes, and on your car's windshield wiper.

Often, such tactics are accompanied by a hardsell message using all the right words from the copywriter's bible. For example:

"Good morning sir/madam, here's a discount voucher for our new shop down the road!"

"Extra! Extra! Special Exam Sale! Everything 50% off!", with a flyer thrust right under your nose.

"FREE party for everybody at ____."

"Special seminar on Understanding the ABC Investment Markets"

Occasionally, predatory marketing may work. After all, the deer - especially the weak-willed - cannot run away forever.

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The flip side is what I call Anticipatory Marketing. Operating like a mother bird feeding her chicks with much needed morsels, the anticipatory marketer identifies and knows intimately what his/her customer needs, wants or desires. And then meets them.

Unlike the first, anticipatory marketing is about drawing your customers in with something that resonates with them as opposed to jarring them out of their senses. Its about listening, seeing, feeling and studying their behaviours, aspirations and goals. Its about catching the pulse of their heartbeat and their emotional states.

An anticipatory marketer acts like a trusted partner. He/she develops a snapshot of the customer's profile and tests it against the market before launching any new initiative. He/she also understands the value of long term marketing to a pool of regular customers, strengthening that relationship by offering benefits for loyalty while always listening, interviewing and asking.

The next time you feel the urge to splurge on a huge campaign targeting nameless and faceless "victims", ask yourself if you've also devoted some time and energy to nurturing those who are already in your brood.

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