While Inbound Marketing, the science of getting found by customers, is a core precept of digital marketing strategy, it is far from a new idea. The lineage of engaging customers on their own terms traces back to Memphis, Tennessee and the founding of Piggly Wiggly almost a century ago.
The brain child of Clarence Saunders in 1916, Piggly Wiggly was the country’s first self-service grocery store. Customers entered the store through a turnstile, selected their own merchandise as they navigate through aisles of product, and checked out (with cash) through multiple cashier lanes.
Prior to Saunders’s experiment, retail customers generally shopped via clerks, receiving items one at a time picked by a clerk from an inaccessible shelf. Piggly Wiggly created the modern CPG culture and turned retail merchandising on it head, cutting overhead and lowering prices along the way.
These basic themes of customer empowerment, allowing customers to explore, experience and engage on their own terms, grew Piggly Wiggly to a chain of over 2,600 locations in less that fifteen years. These same precepts are applicable today as marketers design the engagement path for customers researching and shopping via the internet.
Has your company adopted a formal inbound marketing strategy? If not, pop your homepage URL into the free Marketing Grader launched this week by Inbound Marketing firm Hubspot. The analysis you receive back provides and executive summary of how your site stacks up in three core facets of Hubspot’s marketing funnel.
While the desires and habits of desktop, table and smartphone users vary, the basics of customer-centric marketing carry over well from 1916. While Piggly Wiggly is no longer a grocery powerhouse, it is alive and well all over rural America, offering some of the best swag of any retailer.
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