Tag Archives: marketing strategy - Page 2

Unhealthy perfection

One summer when I was a young, wide-eyed lad, I recall a promotion that McDonalds ran where young, wide (and not-so-wide) eyed lads could win a free poster of the World Series Cricket teams.  You didn’t have to buy anything to get the prize (even though you would anyway, so marketing objective one achieved for Maccas).  All you had to do was say the Big Mac “Two all beef patties…” jingle.

The catch was that you had to do it in 4 seconds or less.

Wanting that poster and knowing what I had to do to get it, I practiced that line over and over (marketing objective two achieved) until I could nail it in under 4 seconds, visited Maccas and claimed my poster.

That was my first ever (memorable) exposure to a sales promotion.  Looking back, it was also a point where I could identify such a thing as an unhealthy obsession with perfection.
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“Won’t bind your legs”

ActionJeans_ChuckNorris
Have you ever had one of those days where you learned absolutely nothing, gained no knowledge at all?  It feels empty and incomplete.

A day without gaining any knowledge at all is a day wasted, no matter what else happens, because knowledge is currency and one day you might need to draw on it.

Whether it’s trivial or mountain-shifting, edifying or entertaining, there’s always something new to be discovered. Learning a single piece of something can also start you on a trail of discovery that can uncover a whole series of thoughts, ideas and insights, which in-itself is always exciting.
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Challenger v. Defender

You think and act differently when you’re the challenger (or at least you should).

Late comers to a market who desire growth are, by definition, challengers (as distinct from followers).

The category or market leader’s job is to defend their market share from attack, to stand their ground and to use all means they can to tell their stories, which are different to the challenger and usually focused on what made them the leader in the first place.

By contrast, the challenger has to be more nimble.  To take mind and (ultimately) market share from the leader, the challenger needs to craft their stories to attack the core strengths of a defender and tell them in a way that undermines the foundations of the leader and presents a credible alternative.

Communications strategies and tactics that get your stories right into the heart of where your desired audience works, plays and interacts, engaging their senses and emotions will drive your brand forward and start winding out the screws holding the market leader aloft.

Doing the same things as the defender is folly.  It only increases the chance that your stories will get lost amongst theirs, no matter how good, how differentiated or how valuable your offering might be.  It might work to start with but the capacity of the leader to ratchet up their attack is usually greater.  Existing in the shadow of the leader will eventually make you indistinguishable from them.

You’ve probably heard the business riddle: where does a 400-pound gorilla sleep?  Anywhere he wants.

That’s true but a nest of termites can eat the legs out of his bed and make him uncomfortable.

Will the real creativity please stand up?

Daring and creativity is no more important to brands than right now.

Standing out from the crowd, a shiny makeover and carving a patch is one of the most powerfully important things any brand can do in any climate but especially now when the marketing landscape is rife with tumbleweed.

Why is it then that there is so little creativity in marketing?

When creativity is the single most vital element of business and marketing strategy, I’m constantly struck at the lack of imagination, creativity and allegiance to “doing as always” shown by an industry supposedly built on the function of attention-getting.

A Linkedin discussion caught my eye this week with the subject of which question – if you had only one – is the most important to ask in a creative brief.  The responses were hot; there were 50 when I joined in.  It was posted across several boards but I caught it on the Australian Marketing Institute’s board.

The respondents’ titles were impressive; director of this brand, head of marketing for that one, creative director for some agency but what struck me was the distinct lack of imagination shown in some of the responses, from an industry that’s supposedly built on creativity.

While there were a few provocative responses, most of them smacked of same and some were truly laughable (in fact sackable, in my opinion).  Several respondents suggested that asking “who is your target market” was the single most important question.  “What does your product do” made too many appearances to be ignored and it was even suggested that the most important question was – wait for it – “do you have a healthy budget”.  Enough said.

Marketing is as creative an art form as any and marketers should seek to tell stories about their brand or product that engage audiences.  Questions about how much budget do you have, and who’s your target market don’t draw stories out.

When I wrote about the importance of looking beyond the latest killer tactic and getting back to marketing boring, that doesn’t mean pulling the valve on the creative juice tank and letting it all flow down the drain.  You can be wildly off the mark if you market without any consideration of the fundamentals but equally you can’t tell a story and engage an audience without creativity

I don’t know where all the creativity bled out of marketing but I think it’s time for a transfusion.

Why you shouldn’t

It’s subtle, though there’s a big difference between “why wouldn’t they” and “why wouldn’t I”.

Maybe that’s why so many marketers get it confused.

“Why wouldn’t they” is internal.  It’s focused on features, not benefits.  It ignores value and destroys brand.  It’s arrogant.

On the other hand, “why wouldn’t I” is a response you seek to invoke in your audience.  It’s a desired result that opens the door to meaningful, potentially fruitful interaction.

Getting a “why wouldn’t I” should be your focus, not sending a “why wouldn’t they”.

The most exciting boring you’ll never want to know

Confused?  Don’t be.  This post is about sharing, because I’ve just read the most exciting column so far this year, its central theme was on becoming boring and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Lots of ‘marketers’ these days don’t want to know about this because they want to think of themselves as being at the cutting-edge.  They want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to new and exciting ways to use media and creativity to get their brands up and rocking. Make big noise to get quick cut-through.  Not a lot of longer run thinking going on.

They also often act at the expense of fundamentals and this column is exciting because it talks all about them.  They’re too busy trying to be cool and be seen that they miss why they’re there in the first place.

Naturally, social media and digital are where most of this loss-of-focus occurs though not exclusively.  In this column, the writer (Pete Blackshaw) puts forward the very same argument I’ve been banging on about to clients (and anyone who’ll listen in the marketing and communications game) if they’re to make any kind of difference to their brands and the consumers of them.

Read this great column then go back and make sure these things are covered in your marketing strategy.