I’ve been lucky enough to host 8 of the past 10 One Awards for Moneris Solutions, the company that makes a lot of POS payment devices that link to Visa, Interac, Mastercard, etc. They’re wonderful people and wildly successful (as they should be). It’s interesting to look at their business.
The first cash register was patented in 1883 by the Ritty brothers. It was improved just over a year later when the National Cash Register Company added a roll of paper for record keeping. An electric motor was added in 1906 and then from there through the years, tiny adjustments were made and before long, training manuals for the part-time staff at Athletes World were created. I’m not sure when the phrase, “Let me get my Manager…” was first uttered.
When credit cards were introduced, suddenly the cash register wasn’t sufficient anymore. They had to add a “thing” to the process – that sha-shunk slider where, according to Louis CK, “…they had to call the President to see if you had any money”. As we increased the sophistication of our payment process, we increased the complexity of devices that were layered on top of the cash register. We added debit. That needed a new machine. Then we added tap-n-go. That required another device. Then self service through a touch screen thing. Now, consumers are at the cash register with a number of options left like wandering fools waiting for the cashier to say those magic words, “the black strip should be facing you.”
I think our media channels are a lot like the cash register.
Eventually, they’ll all be integrated into one device but for now, we have to live with a collection of wires and confusion around the check out. There’s a lot of talk about the merits of TV vs the Internet even though we know that eventually, they’ll be the same thing. They’ll be integrated all into one register (and those with Apple TV know what I’m talking about). Will we still access it from our phones? Sure, but that’ll be like adding a second cash register for shoppers with 12 items or less.
As we weave through this complex world of multiple marketing environments, it’s comforting to know that someone, somewhere is working on making it easier. I certainly know Moneris is.
I’ll be hosting the Art of Marketing at the Metro Toronto Convention in Toronto March 7th. You should check it out. Featured speakers include Guy Kawasaki, Jeffrey Hayzlett, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dr. Sheena Iyengar, and Avinash Kaushik.