Your Secret Marketing Tool: The Daily Public Transit Commute

Commuters

BG and I took the train together yesterday morning and I had an epiphany.

The morning commute is the perfect marketing tool. And no one uses it (pretty much).

Yesterday was the first day I wasn't cocooned in my iPod and book. I was chatting with BG and had my eyes and ears totally open to the world around me.

I'm ashamed to say, it was probably a first.

A New World

I listened to the way people talked about current events, I spied what they listened to on their iPod, and I peeked over shoulders to see what people were reading (yeah, I'm that guy).

It was great! I picked up more details about human interaction than I would have after a week researching online.

How is this a marketing tool? Marketing is all about relationships, and becoming more so all of the time. As I mentioned in a post about how marketers are now anthropologists: "Now, relationships are a prerequisite to business, not vice versa."

On the train, I was able to observe how people related to media, other people, and the world around them. You can figure out someone's priorities pretty quickly in a packed train car.

For 30 minutes, I studied sociology, anthropology, and marketing all at the same time. And it was awesome.

Try Something New

What's the alternative? Enveloping yourself in the retreat of a car interior?

If you live in a city with public transportation, let someone else do the driving tomorrow morning. It'll give you time to study that elusive "public" marketers are always talking about. To paraphrase David Ogilvy, the customer isn't an idiot, she's your train companions.

If you've got the guts, we'd love to hear about your experience. Or, if you have another secret marketing tool - a place you go to check out human behavior - please also share it in the comments section below.

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(Image courtesy of paintMonkey via Flickr)