HomeDissertation:The ASICA Model and the Coming Hospitality-Powered Renaissance

The ASICA Model and the Coming Hospitality-Powered Renaissance

2.“Forward-Focused Marketing” and “Home-Call Marketing” Rooted in Hospitality

In addition to general households, the communities I am referring to also contained neighborhood retail stores. Individual families also ran such enterprises, with the organizational format focused on the family head as the core player applied in much the same way as general households. Due to the business character of stores, however, they faced the need to cultivate a form of marketing expertise unnecessary at ordinary families. Back in the days when “marketing” and other sophisticated concepts had yet to gain a firm foothold, the act of “pleasing customers” served as the common wisdom of business in place of more advanced techniques.

This naturally leads to the question of how to provide such pleasure. While simply supplying customers with what they want will lead to a certain degree of satisfaction, there are cases when furnishing value that has not crossed the minds of clients will generate even greater delight. For example, a fishmonger might drop by a home and mention how, because the family’s daughter will be entering the next level of schooling the following month, he could prepare some nice sea bream (normally served to celebrate such milestones) for the occasion. For the family, the result would be the joy, at first, of having their daughter’s celebration remembered, followed by the relief on the part of the housewife at not having to worry about what to serve at that time. There would also be the delight of sharing a topic concerning their precious child with others, further fueling the fulfillment. This is hospitality, in no uncertain terms, and likewise it embraces the very origins of business. Such “forward-focused marketing,” in which the conditions, topics, and other aspects of individual families are grasped from the midst of everyday interaction and solutions readied in advance, was carried out as a natural matter of course. The essence of this approach differs from the seller-oriented “by hook or by crook, just sell” approach largely subscribed to at present.

Another area of keen interest is the fact that greengrocers, fishmongers, and other food merchants did not engage solely in the sale of their respective produce but also traditionally offered a rich selection of recipes. In this way, totally natural solution-based give-and-take, such as asking fish shops about how to prepare specific seafood dishes, became an accepted part of everyday life in local communities. This, in my estimate, can also be said to involve an aspect of hospitality. Next we come to so-called “home-call marketing,” the genuine roots of marketing during the era I am describing. Under this practice, people from this or that shop would call upon families at home to take orders on a daily basis. The following exchange might take place between a fishmonger and a housewife, for example:
Fishmonger:“I’ve got some pretty tasty mackerel in stock today. How about that for dinner?”
Housewife: “I’ll pass this time. We ate fish just last night. By the way, though, could you take some laundry to the drycleaners?”
Fishmonger: “No problem!”

In this scenario, the fishmonger is suddenly transformed into a runner for the local drycleaner. Such practices also evolved as a normal and accepted part of everyday life. While shop owners would call on families to sell their own goods, at times they would serve as odd job handymen. In short, such merchants strived not only to sell products for their own convenience but also to foster a general grasp of all needs (errands) of their customers. Based on that, they would inquire and propose effective solutions to accommodate the needs of individual families.

While it was nice when their own products became a part of such solutions, even when that was not the case merchants placed the priority on addressing their customer’s needs. That functioned to uphold the community fabric, while effectively deploying a system of extremely flexible “solution-based distribution” generally viewed as destined in good time to also contribute to the shop owner’s personal business interests. This is a classic example of a genre of hospitality rendered largely inconceivable in the current era of economic efficiency above all else.

Merchants living in local communities mobilized this “forward-focused marketing” to supply hospitality that normally failed to immediately dawn on customers, while using “home-call marketing” to enrich interaction with the neighborhood and individual households. By its very nature, this proved effective in preserving the community as an organization. Within regional neighborhoods, such business establishments can be said to have carried solutions necessary in daily life to ordinary households, while simultaneously excelling as communication network hubs within those districts. Vigorous communities, in other words, could normally be anticipated to contain energetic and high-spirited retail merchants.

In recent years, however, this intrinsic approach to hospitality has fallen into neglect. Against the backdrop of the wave of large-scale retail stores, which essentially consist of clusters of economic rationality, this type of community-based system is beginning to crumble.

Page Top