Commonsense is becoming very uncommon


I never cease to be amazed at peoples views of what is fair and what’s not. Specifically when it comes to sales and marketing – loyalty schemes, special offers etc they are blissfully unaware of the motives of the marketer and think it’s all about them.

As Marketing guru Seth Godin says “We in general are increasingly naive and gullible when it comes to the hope of getting something for nothing.”

Recently the Coles organisation embarked on a Loyalty campaign which entailed making discount cards available to everyone and then asking everyone for some key shopping profile information.

From this they obviously established profiles that covered spending patterns including the most likely products individuals buy on a regular basis and what their average grocery spend was likely to be.

This has enabled Coles to define their pricing and discount policies in sync with consumer demand. This is a good thing for the consumer as it means they will get a better deal and one that’s suited to them from Coles over time.

But clearly consumers still see such profiling as an evil thing….. why would you not want to know about specials that interest you or only get ads that are specific to the sorts of things that might interest you?

The next thing Coles did with the data was use it to build the Petrol Sales as well but offering huge discounts (30 – 40 cents per litre) based on spending levels in the Supermarket. For example if a family spent $200 a week they would get a 40 cent discount while if a single spent $100 they would get 30 cents off.

But what resulted was cries of how unfair this was and why didn’t everyone get 40 cents off etc etc .

Clearly the issue here is that the average consumer does not understand what modern marketing is about … why have loyalty programs, discounts, profiling etc etc . If they did they would understand there are pros and cons for them and as such make decisions in their best interests.

Why is this increasingly a problem…..??

Technology etc has led to smarter Marketing ….. but the Education system is still the same one designed during the Industrial Revolution to develop workers for factories who would also become consumers of the factories output.

In other words Marketers are smarter but in many ways consumers still think like they did years ago.

It seems our Education system has not moved with the times. School Teachers leave school with this non commercial mind set and then return to teach others exactly as they were taught in terms of the world today.

Recently the Government allocated billions to reforming the Education system now known as Gonski (after the head of the review panel) …sadly though they are reforming the way money is allocated to ensure better teachers etc etc . When they should be reforming the whole system and methods of teaching based on the age in which we live – The Post Industrial Age, The Information Age …whatever you want to call it.

Seth Godin one of the great thinkers and writers when it comes to modern marketing summed the situation caused by the disconnected consumer up recently

“Do you see the disconnect here? Every year, we churn out millions of workers who are trained to do 1925 labor….

We in general are increasingly naive and gullible when it comes to the hope of getting something for nothing.

As we get ready for the 93rd year of universal public education, here’s the question every parent and taxpayer needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable and mediocre factory-workers?

As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble.

The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it?”

It’s time to Reform how we deliver Education in the post Industrial Age…not just how we pay for it (Eg Gonski).

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