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Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Education to Ad-ucation Smarts in Wired Markets

ARE WE SMARTER shoppers yet? We so often learn nowadays about flashy new products and services from flashy ads served up on flashy laptops, tablets, TV, and mobile devices. And we may even buy the new product for 50 or even 70 percent off—if we sign up for the ‘today’s deal,’ in time.
 
But beyond all the flash, there’s a more powerful story about advertising and promotion and shopping habits that’s worth following. It’s also a story worth considering in your own job’s or business’s marketing efforts. In short it’s that our technology is helping us (farily making us!) become better bargain hunters, managers, and smarter shoppers.

It’s not just that we’re being fed a raging river of discount deals. Which we are. It’s more that we are being offered all manner of deals that are paired with all manner of reviews and criticism. This is further buttressed by digitally delivered, honest, transparent advice sourced from the crowd.

That’s one key point offered by Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business in Cambridge, Mass., and author of the recent e-book, Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?

As consumers smarten up their buying decisions, price, while always important, is not all-important when it comes to digital advertising and digital “curation” of the marketing message.

According to Schrage, who wrote about the smarter shopping topic in a blog for the Harvard Business Review, the clear “majority of advertising/marketing/branding investments and expenditures most organizations make today are more about ‘selling things’ than ‘helping customers.’"

What’s more, he adds, customers today prefer to receive help in their shopping decisions, rather than being “pushed” a quick-new-whopping deal.  The same goes, logic tells us, for those who now make important job-seeking or hiring decisions online.

Any so those of us who work in companies or firms who sell products or services would be wise to take this message to heart: Education in old-school advertising is quickly giving way to, as Schrage writes about it: “Adu-cation.” The recommendations and even complaints we read while shopping for goods and services are engaging us in making better buying decisions.
 
The Mad Men of the advertising world yesterday are giving way to the Wise Women/Men of the digital marketing delivery and supply chain.

It’s time to educate and ad-ucate our customers and our business partners. Prices drive action, to be sure, but today they won’t always seal the deal.
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