By Tommy DeLuca and John Schellman

The middle often gets a bad name. (Have you ever met a kid whose goal is to be a middle-aged middle manager?) But for many brands, the middle of the market is a great place to be right now.

Try this on for size

Like martial artists, mid-market brands are nimble enough to use bigger brands’ size against them. As a recent Nielsen study noted, “Larger companies with more established, less agile innovation processes struggle to launch winning innovations.”

Moreover, as Liana Lubel, senior vice president of Nielsen’s Innovation Practice, put it, larger brands “have adopted behaviors designed to mitigate the risk of innovation failure. Instead of launching bold, category-disrupting innovations, they launch a lot of play-it-safe, ‘me too’ innovations.”

From a marketing perspective, this means mid-market brands that are open to a lot of testing—and as we emphasized in a recent post, that should be all mid-market brands — are much more likely to discover innovations and efficiencies that the big brands miss.

Fewer barriers = better customer service

Mid-market brands are also better positioned to exploit another area of opportunity: customer service. To be successful, brands can no longer rely on providing a solid product alone. They have to provide the best customer service possible, and they have to do it across multiple platforms. Really, gaining a competitive edge comes down to a single critical factor: Can you give the consumer what they want, when they want it, with as little effort as possible?

Again, smaller, more agile brands are more responsive in this area than bureaucratic monoliths. Having fewer levels of management means that mid-market brands can form faster, better, and more relevant connections with their target demographic. That’s the key to delivering the kind of frictionless customer experience that today’s consumer demands.

Many brands fail to perform in this crucial category. And if you don’t believe us, believe Nielsen. “Instead of fitting their innovation processes to their current technical capabilities, [brands] have to prioritize solving real consumer struggles,” the study declared. Added Lubel, “This seems simple enough, but 75% of concepts tested by Nielsen don’t fundamentally address any relevant need for consumers.”

That isn’t news to us here at PebblePost. Our whole purpose is to provide both the relevance and the innovation that is sorely lacking in much of today’s marketing. We call it the Programmatic Direct Mail® solution. If you’d like to know more about how it works, we would love to hear from you.

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