Category Archives: Marketing

Emotion Through Fried Brakes

When it comes to creating an emotional brand experience, forget copy, taglines, imagery and brand iconography.

There’s nothing like touching and feeling a product first-hand. Tasting the product is even better.  Especially when that taste is vaporized rubber and burning brake pads.

Of course you have to be a gearhead, enjoy automobiles and love driving.  That’s why Audi’s Driving Experience is perfect in terms of targeting and likely a big success in generating sales.

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Can Marketing Cure What Ails You?

Eye Protection
A recent article in the New York Times got me thinking about the psychology of marketing again, and how some basic principles are used or under-used in social media marketing.

Warning: Habits May Be Good for You” explores how an anthropologist turned to marketing experts from CPG companies like Procter & Gamble to help increase the incidence of hand-washing with soap after using the toilet in the nation of Ghana to improve the health of children.  Obviously, this was an important effort and I was encouraged to see marketing practitioners as instrumental in helping achieve success in this endeavor.

As I was reading the article, it struck me that many of the techniques used are found in Robert B. Cialdini‘s classic Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. I’d lent out my copy a few years ago and, thankfully, had to buy a new version which includes an epilogue written by Dr. Cialdini in 2007.  My re-read then triggered a few thoughts on social media.

If the social media crowd can stop navel-gazing long enough to do some quick research and scientific work, boy will money be made. [More after the jump.]

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85 Years Old and Still Relevant

Cup of ScienceHow many of us will be able to make that claim?

Well, the classic Claude Hopkins book Scientific Advertising is still a must-read.  It’s a slim 56 pages, but blows just about every advertising book ever written out of the water.

No less than David Ogilvy said that everybody should read it seven times, and that it changed his life.

Good enough for you? Download an open-source PDF file here.  Read it at lunch.

Then go forth and do likewise.

Creative Commons License photo credit: gds

Following the Social Media Money

Bruno Psysapiens Bezerra com o boo-virusWhat’s the value placed on a social media marketing campaign by the marketers that develop the campaign?  It’s hard to tell, because one typically can’t get access to the key metrics associated with the campaign, particularly sales attributed to the effort and ROI.

I was intrigued by a new social push by Sony Ericsson for the Z750a flip phone, created by their agency, Iris.  The campaign is titled “Bringing Purple Back.”

Well, neither Sony Ericsson nor Iris would give me any objectives for the campaign.  Neither was any information or speculation found on unofficial Sony Ericsson blog sites about the campaign.

Being an inquisitive guy, I decided to use the crude but effective research technique of following the money to learn more.

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Marketing Plans or Preparation? There's a Difference.

finest laid plans

You plan for offensive operations, while you prepare to play defense.  You’ll find this concept in both warfare and sports, and it’s applicable in business as well.

I much prefer playing offense, because that’s where you score and generate revenues. A strong business offensive plan also limits the amount of places you’ll need to prepare to play defense, freeing up more resources for–you guessed it–playing more offense.

What’s an example of planning as opposed to preparations in a marketing context?

A great example can be found in the United States Postal Service and the annual postage increases.  If you’re using direct mail as a marketing channel, you can be sure of two things:

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What's the ROI on gold-plated customer service?

L.L. Bean boots.  By redjar, April 24, 2006, Flickr Today’s article is a reminder that customer service, when done correctly, isn’t an expense.  It can be your #1 marketing tool and put a wide moat between your business and your competitors.

L.L. Bean is the standard against which your phone support should be measured.

From their website:

Guaranteed.  You Have Our WordTM.

Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way.  Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise.  We do not want you to have anything from L.L. Bean that is not completely satisfactory.

Unlike a lot of companies, L.L. Bean really lives by their guarantee.

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Duran Duran, luck and marketing

Simon LeBonAt one point during my college days I wanted to be an A&R guy for a record label.  My reactions to smoke-filled clubs and early-to-bed habits caused me to rethink that career option.

But music, and the marketing of it, has remained a lifelong interest.

Last night, my wife and I saw Duran Duran at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.  This was her 11th or 12th time and my 10th time to see the band.

When you go to a Duran Duran show, you know you’re going to see a great performance, an enthusiastic crowd and hit after hit.

What I didn’t expect was a textbook example of creating and maximizing a marketing channel, and an example of how big a part luck plays in everything we do as marketers.

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An offer you can't refuse

1957 Dodge CoronetHow can you tell if an offer is good, i.e., is a strong consumer offer that makes money?

The answer is when the organization making the offer continues to use the offer.  The case in point is Chrysler’s “Let’s Refuel America” $2.99/gallon gasoline offer, which I wrote about recently.

The offer was supposed to expire in early June, but based on early results–including 25% more web traffic and a 34% increase in Internet leads–the promotion has been extended through July 7th.

Apparently Chrysler has re-crunched the numbers and found the financial results worth continuing making what’s turned out to be a very strong offer.  This is good news for the car buyer looking for a deal, the dealers who like the floor traffic and is good for Chrysler, as far as “moving the metal” goes.  (Overall, though, Chrysler is still in trouble.)

The takeaway is that Chrysler’s promotion has, once again, proven the old direct response maxim: If you want to dramatically increase your response, dramatically increase your offer.

When was the last time you looked at your offer? How might you reallocate your offer cost to create a more exciting offer that’s a true consumer benefit?
Creative Commons License photo credit: epicharmus

Make your mantra "make it easy"

Getting up close with my dinnerGuy Kawasaki, who is one of my favorite regular blog reads and speakers, is the author of The Art of the Start, which is a quick and worthwhile read for anybody thinking about starting up their own company.

One of the 10 things you should do, according to his book, is “Make Mantra.” I absolutely loved this, because it accurately describes what all truly innovative companies are doing and, more tellingly, what a lot of big companies are not doing.

I think that Papa John’s has “Made Mantra” with their focus on making it easy for the customer to order.  They’ve sold over $1 billion of pizza via their online ordering tools.  According to the CNN article, it’s just the start of likely dozens of new ways a Papa John’s customer can order.

Now that’s a mantra–make it easy to order.

So what are you doing to make it easy for your customer to buy more of your products?  Or more often? Or more efficiently?

Guy Kawasaki talking about “Make Mantra” is below.

Creative Commons License photo credit: ronnie44052

Step up your marketing

Octane Fitness Q37ce elliptical trainerIf you’ve gone through the hard work of developing physical products for customers, why not take advantage of the low-cost and free Web 2.0 tools available to help increase adoption of your product and reduce your sales cycle?

A perfect case in point is Octane Fitness and their line of elliptical trainers.

We were in the market for an elliptical trainer for about 6 months, when we finally pulled the trigger in early April on an Octane Q37ce trainer.  Since then, we’ve been extremely happy with the investment.  I’ve found that a six-day-a-week workout routine is easy to maintain and have seen marked improvements in my level of cardiovascular fitness.

So why did it take 6 months to purchase a product that I; a) really wanted; b) really needed; and c) is a terrific product that fits my needs exactly?

After reflecting for a month and doing some additional research, it’s clear that Octane could have cut the sales cycle down to under a month.  Here’s how. Continue reading