opinion

A Slow Starter

Stephen Yagielowicz

There are many business segments that experience a long buying cycle — where the time between a prospect’s first exposure to your product or service, and the point at which a positive purchase decision is made, can span years — and in the case of really big-ticket items, such as roadways and various other infrastructure assets, decades can lapse between someone’s bright idea and its actual implementation.

This plays out in the online adult entertainment industry in several ways. For example, joining a paysite is usually a spontaneous, impulse purchase — while cam site patrons may take some time to spend their initial credit package, and even longer to buy more tokens. Anecdotal reports of decent performance by long-held but inactive accounts reveal that some cam fans may take a year or more to commit to buying more credits — underscoring the need for remaining in contact with customers for as long as possible.

The mainstream consumer space also faces this need to cultivate contacts with customers in order to keep their offers front and center, until an appropriate motivator closes the sale — with convenience and cost influencing the timeline.

For a personal example, I’ll point to Nikon, which has a small widget that pops up on my desktop from time to time, to bring me their latest news. It’s a perhaps monthly reminder of our relationship, using their logo and colors to break through whatever I might be doing at the time, via a scrolling text box.

It’s a relationship that has lasted for decades, and will continue for life. The next incarnation of our connection will be the 58mm f1.4, a superb piece of glass, that along with a protective filter, runs about $2,000 with tax. I wasn’t able to buy it last year — and may not be able to buy it this year — but by early next year, it will find a place in the new camera bag I’ll have to buy to be able to carry this extra lens...

This lengthy purchase timeline is a simple matter of cost and priorities, and between now and the day I hit the “buy” button on the B&H website, I’ll read every new review of that lens I can find, even though I am already committed to purchasing it in the future. In the meantime, Nikon and B&H are sure to stay in touch with me, to let me know of any specials.

As for the present, this morning I purchased a hand grip strap and neck strap for carrying my camera — perhaps not the most noteworthy accomplishment, but it was a long time in coming — and the first time I ever used Amazon.com. While my wife uses Amazon, and I have seen the site before, it was the $100 in year-old Amazon gift cards I had sitting in my desk drawer that finally inspired me to create an account, log in and search for an item that I wanted to purchase: the Peak Design “Clutch” — a flexible hand strap system for my Nikon, which is ideal for my style of shooting.

I learned about the Peak Design “Clutch” by clicking their ad on Facebook — the first time I ever clicked a web ad as “a consumer.” I clicked, visited and bookmarked the site, watched their videos and decided to buy their full neck strap system as well. That was weeks ago — but I placed the order this morning, because I just found the Amazon gift cards while searching for wayward tax documents.

I ended up paying $6 to cover the sales tax California now imposes on Internet orders, so it was a great deal for me, and the process was a win all around: where I have a new way to carry my camera, used my gift cards, and tried something new, all in one go. Amazon and Peak Design both have a new customer — plus the promo benefits of me telling you about it.

Next up, I have an iTunes gift card (and word this morning of another one on the way), which I can add to the $50 that Apple added to my account a couple of years ago when I bought my iPad 3. It seems that you can buy music from this iTunes thing, so I won’t have to listen to those songs on YouTube anymore.

I will have to give that a try...

The point of this story is that when you are evaluating the effectiveness of your advertising and other promotional efforts, keep in mind that not every sale occurs immediately — and that keeping in touch with your customers long after an initial sale or point of contact may result in an eventual windfall.

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