I have come to believe that the most difficult part of marketing is leading a client toward considering his own marketing from the customer’s point of view, not the client’s point of view.
Widget makers think they have achieved something when they articulate their unique selling proposition. When they can tell the audience that ABC Widgets are made from material A to be the best widgets when used in extremely cold temperatures.
To an extent, that is helpful. Except, of course, most cold-temperature needing-manufacturers already have their favorite widget. ABC widget is another, but they already have a favorite. If the day comes when they no longer like the current favorite, they may consider ABC if they remember, that is.
Instead, ABC should build an emotional connection with the cold-temperature widget using audience. “At ABC, we know that when a widget fails in cold weather, it is more than a matter of replacing a widget. Cold weather repairs are more difficult and time consuming. They pose a more severe production loss, and physical danger. That is why ABC makes Material A widgets. If you are the kind of user who needs widgets that stand up to the cold, we’ve got the widget for you.”
Easy to construct those statements in meetings or in blogs, but by the time it comes to getting that message in front of the customer, it will have been watered down and lose its emotional connection.
So here is a cheat. The last statement is what you need. “If you’re the kind of person who…” If you don’t see that statement (reworded as it is bound to be) in your appeal to the audience, re-examine your emotional connection. There is a good chance it got lost.
“If you’re the kind of person who…” write it on your dry wall and refer to it all the time. You’ll find that it is a good place to start writing selling copy of any kind.
“Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan”. It is true of great creative. Great creative starts with a daring client who understands that as long as the marketing and branding goals are met, be as outrageous as you dare.
It takes a marketing plan that everyone believes in and makes realistic sense for the brand.
Finally, it takes a creative mind capable of getting into the mind of the audience, then is able to interpret the benefits of an offer, and blending it with the rules of the media used, the brand and psychology delivers an impact.
All that has to go into it for it to be good. It wasn’t just a useful brainstorming.
Widget Maker: We are a new company. We have a great location, a recognizable name, a solid market that will love us, and now we need a logo.
Marketer: No you don’t.
Widget Maker: That is silly. Of course we do. We need something to put on our building, business cards and stationery.
Marketer: Why not just put up this recognizable name of yours? Why make people go through the steps of visualizing your logo just to recognize your name. Just put up the name instead.
Widget Maker: Get out. You don’t know anything about marketing.
Marketer: I know about human nature. You don’t need your name to be read aloud, you need that name to mean something. Surely one of the best ways to deliver the meaning of your brand is through a logo. People will recognize it in a snapshot, but that is only useful if they recognize the meaning of brand that logo represents at the same time. Your brand doesn’t need a logo, your brand needs meaning. Without that meaning, a logo is useless.
You will get a logo. But it is only a tool to convey the meaning we will help develop for your brand. If I were to give you a logo first, I would be providing you no service.
The new year has arrived, and we celebrated the most hedonistic of holidays. Celebrate to excess on New Year’s Eve, while counting down the inevitable.Then, lounge about on New Years Day, watching parades and bowl games. The only honoree is Father Time, who appropriately changes into an infant at midnight. What symbol is more self absorbed? The only gifts given are those that are to be consumed that day.
The very idea reminds me of the most fundamental rule of advertising. To promote a product, appeal to one of the seven deadly sins. Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth may carve your path to Hades, but suggesting that your brand will feed any of these will help make that brand successful.
How many times have you been attracted to a product that made one of these promises?
- A beer that makes you popular with women (beer teaches marketing, I always say).
- A car that makes others stop and look at you drive down the street.
- A restaurant where you feast like a king.
- A cake mix that lets you get back at the perennial baking queen by just opening a box.
- Financial services that make you wealthier.
- A home appliance that does the work for you.It works.
Plain and simple. So when you are about to find a marketing angle for your next project, be sure to ask how that product will make the user envied, sexy, rich, pretty, fat or lazy.
You would expect that the artist at an advertising agency is the creative team, and the numbers geeks in data selection are the analytical ones, wouldn’t you? In fact, most people would bet on it.
However, the opposite is true. Sure, each of them are mired in the rolls we expect them to hold, but the geniuses in each of those areas are the ones who employ the opposite talent.
The list is the most important part of an advertising campaign. How do we get our message most efficiently in front of the right audience? No matter the media, we can find a lot of data about audience behavior. What they do for a living, how much money they make, their family structure and set of beliefs tell us a lot about the products they are likely to purchase. But everyone knows that. Your competitors know that. To set yourself above the rest, you need someone who can read into all that data, information that isn’t obvious.
For instance, if you are selling carpet cleaning, find pet owners, or homeowners with children. Their dirty carpets need cleaning. But how about identifying drivers of cherry red Ford Mustangs? That color is daring and catches attention when sparkling clean. That group is likely to be particular about their surroundings and fond of cleanliness. You may find a golden audience with that group. Create a message just for them, and you are likely to find success.
So now, you move that assignment to the creative team. Their task is to develop a message that promotes the need of clean carpets to the audience of proud red Mustang owners. It must convey a sales offer, and hold true to the branding requirements of the offeror (let’s hope their corporate colors don’t clash with a red Mustang) and must do so within the physical limits of the media chosen. A 30-second TV spot, print on a 6″ x 11″ postcard, or remain under the seven words readable on billboards of various, unknown placements.
The creative team does what they do under more rules than we know, whereas, the audience identification crew starts with accepted knowledge, and has unlimited imagination available to them to enhance the program’s reach.
If a program is successful, you can probably count on one of those teams being able to use the other side of their brain to lead the success.