Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Umbrella Marketing Is For Marketing Umbrellas.

A current Olivio advertisement spends the majority of its duration evoking ideas of Italian heritage and artisinal authenticity to be attached to its industrially-produced butter spread with added olive oil.

So far, so unexceptional. But then it’s topped off with the imposition of the Unilever corporate logo that undercuts everything that’s gone before. I’ve written before about this type of boardroom ego-trip, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it actually at odds with the marketing message.

Why do they think the Unilever logo will enhance the customers’ retail choice architecture in any way that their product positioning will not? How many products do they think shoppers can identify as coming from the Unilever stable?

Personally, I’m not sure I could be certain of more than two and I sadly have more interest in the question than the man or woman in the supermarket.

Twenty eight seconds is barely enough time to tell a story let alone enough to indulge in sub-plots. Do their marketers want to tell the Italian story or the Unilever story? They need to choose one.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Make Research Interesting.

Here's an art project from which research companies could learn a lot.

Everything We Touch literally illustrates one of my basic marketing axioms. Don't ask people what they think they do, find out what they actually do.

Every thing that each person has touched in a twenty four hour period is laid out chronologically on the same sheet. You don't see opinions, you see actual data and from that starting-point can construct and interrogate a day's narrative.

In the book, the photo creates a double-page spread that the reader can peruse and guess about before turning over to find a diagrammatic breakdown that identifies every item and a brief profile of and intereview with the person concerned.

The prevalence of Apple products and fresh food rather gives the game away that this is an affluent and creatively-skewed group of people, but there's no reason that the concept couldn't be expanded. Research that attracts and engages. How's that for differentiation?

As an industry colleague commented: "Few researchers do that because they only want to do what they’re going to be paid for rather than what we may find interesting."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Make Marketing User-Centric.

Is it just me or does that sound remarkably product-centric when marketing should be user-centric? More evidence that Twitter doesn't actually understand its users?

It's the type of thinking that emphasises screen brightness and other fripperies when users are more interested in battery life.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Make Marketing Less Complicated.

“You want to try everything and you can do anything, but at the same time, there’s no model to work off of. There’s no blueprint for success. We’re trying a lot of things and we’re throwing a lot of stuff at the wall. But you have to in this space. Nobody has the formula. Now as we start to see what’s working and what’s not, we’re really learning what our fans want.”
A statement from a report in 2014 about the NCAA's new social media "strategy" that I found in my draft posts. It didn't become a post back then because there's no mileage in picking holes in such approaches, but today it echoes the type of prevailing marketing sentiment that worries me greatly.

Overcomplication for the sake of it and a bizarre willingness to admit that they don't know what works (while simultaneously bemoaning their lack of credibility in the boardroom) are marketing traits that I loathe.

We exist to connect product and services to customers who want and benefit from them - it's really that simple and I hope in 2016 we all remember that while it's not easy, it doesn't need to be complicated.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mindless Branding.

From yesterday's London evening paper.

Small business agony aunt Jo Malone explains how to pick the right place to sell your products.
Dear Jo
I have just started a handbag brand.
I need to decide whether to sell my handbags on my website or through another retailer’s.
Should I sell it online until the brand has gained recognition before approaching buyers?
This is a great question and one that many new businesses struggle with.

No, it's not a great question. The writer has not created a handbag brand. They have decided to make a range of handbags. Nobody knows about them. There is no brand value, there is no brand equity, there is no brand.

This is what happens when the words used by marketers seep into public consciousness. Nonsense ensues. You don't start anything with a brand. You start with a user need and, one hopes, potential customers who might like your stuff enough to buy it.

Pretending you're a corporation with a marketing department that's busy finding clever-sounding work by which to justify its existence really isn't the way to go.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

If Your Marketing Needs An Asterisk Revisited.

The claims looks clear enough, but there's one of those pesky asterisks that always bugs me. Does it reveal a small sample size? No, nothing so mundane. It reveals a new reality where 84 equals 85.

What were they thinking of?

Monday, September 21, 2015

It Ain't What You Do.

Not all products and services are glamourous. Marketing them well says a lot about the quality of the marketers involved. If you can make the unappealing, appealing then you're a good marketer.

Bodily functions and ailments aren't glamourous, but that doesn't mean the marketing has to fall into the trap of withdrawing into the dull or antiseptic.

Don't bore on about how you solve the problem, just demonstrate what hardship you're removing from their life. How you can set them free.

How do you make the unappealing appealing?

By focusing on the indirect effects. By using brief, clear copy and an elegant and witty image. By being bright (in every sense).