My friends AnnaMaria Turano and John Rosen are releasing their book “Stopwatch Marketing” this week. I read the early version last month. A quick introduction to the book is here:
Sometimes shopping takes minutes, but is still too long; sometimes shopping takes months, and the shopper is sad to see it end. In Stopwatch Marketing, you will learn that time isn’t money; it’s much more important than that. Understanding how much time and energy consumers are willing to spend shopping for a particular purchase – their shopping strategies – is the single most important (and overlooked) thing you need to know in order to succeed in selling your product or service to them.
In Stopwatch Marketing, we identify four basic shopping strategies – impatient, reluctant, painstaking, and recreational – and show how to analyze, evaluate, and exploit the time that represents every shopper’s most important resource; how to understand and measure the length of time your customer will spend searching for your product or service; and how to make absolutely certain that your product or service is close to the front of your customer’s queue.
RS: Tell me what the book is about…
AnnaMaria and John: Stopwatch Marketing is about understanding how much time and energy consumers are willing to spend shopping for a particular purchase and recognizing that this is the single most important (and overlooked) thing you need to know in order to succeed in selling your product or service to them.
In Stopwatch Marketing, we identify four basic consumer shopping strategies – impatient, reluctant, painstaking, and recreational – and show how to analyze, evaluate, and exploit consumers’ available time to make certain that your product or service is close to the front of your customer’s queue when they’re ready to buy.
RS: Why is this concept of Time more important than ever before?
AnnaMaria and John: Consumers are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and choices available today – in any category. Wading through the vast amount of information and weighing multiple options takes TIME – whether you are buying a fruit juice or replacing your car’s flat tire – something which is all too precious in today’s over-worked and over-stressed world.
Studies show that today’s consumers would be willing to literally pay money to get back more time in their day. Every marketing plan today needs to be informed by a deep understanding of the time and energy which your customer is willing to spend shopping for your product, the value consumers put on their time, and the exact moment at which they make a buying decision.
RS: What industries can benefit from applying Stopwatch Marketing principles?
AnnaMaria and John: Retail is an obvious industry as retailers can make the practice of shopping easier – and sometimes more fun – as in our case study of Whole Foods. But, our consulting work across industries has shown that any industry – whether someone is selling boat locks or a college degree – can benefit from understanding how much time and energy a consumer is willing to spend listening to your message and making a purchase.
RS: Why is Stopwatch Marketing something that should concern more than the marketing department?
AnnaMaria and John: Most companies are organized by function–manufacturing, advertising, marketing, sales, HR, etc. which leads to the natural sales vs. marketing or marketing vs. R&D struggles. Instead, we we argue that companies should organize and budget around CUSTOMERS and CUSTOMER BEHAVIOR – and that the most competitive companies have wisely reorganized their business functions and budgeting around time and how time influences their customers.
RS: What’s the biggest surprise you found in researching how companies leverage their understanding of customers’ time?
AnnaMaria and John: Healthy profits! Seriously, we found that those companies which understand their customers’ available time and energy and have re-designed their products, services, and marketing strategies accordingly have more margins vs. their competition. In the case of some categories, significantly more margins!
RS: What are your suggested actions to a marketer who wants to apply Stopwatch Marketing principles?
AnnaMaria and John: First, start gathering consumer information on how much time and energy they spend considering a purchase and making a purchase decision so you can better understand your customers’ shopping style. Second, determine the ideal shopping style for your brand. And lastly, time your marketing activities to “jump the queue” at the time when your customer is most likely to buy. The more insight you have on your customers’ shopping style, the more you’ll be able to get the timing right.