Out of Time

Smith, J. Walker
September 2004
Marketing Management;Sep/Oct2004, Vol. 13 Issue 5, p56
This article discusses time-respectful marketing. It is about marketing that provides value in return for time. It is about marketing that rewards people's time, enriches people's time, and gives time back to people. Marketing practices have to measure up to the value that people place on their time. It is not too far-fetched to suppose that, in the very near future, marketers will have to start paying people to watch their ads or read their direct mail. But even if marketers do not pay people, marketers are going to have to richly compensate people in other ways: Truly engaging entertainment, not just jingles. Truly meaningful information, not product pitches. And truly helpful tools, not more selling. When people spend time with marketing, they want something in return right then and there, not just the promise of a reward in the future from something they could buy. The value people get from what they buy is not to be dismissed, but it is not enough to make the time people spend with marketing worth it, at least not when people have so many other options at hand yet so little time to use them. Consumers will be more receptive to marketing if they are rewarded in real time for their attention and effort. With time at more of a premium than ever before, reciprocity must become central to the practice of marketing. People's time used to be a free resource for marketers. But now, marketers have to give something back if they are going to ask people for their time. Marketing must earn people's time and attention. Because, nowadays, people feel that their time is far too precious not to be well spent every moment of every day.


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