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The Milkman. Tide Pods. Old is New.

August 15th, 2016

Old is new, and that’s not all when it comes to consumer marketing.

It was the Business Insider article, Procter & Gamble Launches Direct-to-Consumer Subscription Business, that got me thinking about how the paradigm of selling to consumers is shifting. Yet again.

A “subscription” business for laundry detergent, operating on direct order from, and direct delivery to the consumer, leaves “traditional” retailers out of the distribution chain.

But is this really new?  The Department of Agriculture statistics for 1963 show 29.7% of households received home delivery of milk.  It was the earliest survey of this sort, but was conducted as the sun probably was setting on such services.

Still, milk delivery itself is really not the point.

I’ve been in the business long enough to remember the days when I worked at Procter & Gamble and independent retailers, as a group, represented the major retail segment. Soon, chains were rising in number and strength.

Over the years, retailers amassed data, and with that, gained power. They consolidated for greater influence and efficiencies, developed capabilities for studying consumer purchase behavior, created private label brands, and more. The retail paradigm of the sixties shifted. And shifted. And shifted again. And the shift continued on.

Today’s foray of Procter & Gamble into testing direct-to-consumer delivery of its products is a signal of a potential paradigm change underway that could bring more control, power and influence back in the court of marketers.

How big a shift will this be? And, what will be next?

It’s a world where paradigm shifts and innovations come faster and faster.  Make sure your brand is at the front of the curve.

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