Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Marketing Mugs.


During eleven years of treatment for mental illness, performance artist Bobby Baker created a painting each day. Until August, a selection of them can be seen at The Wellcome Collection in London. They include a brilliant evocation of uncontrollable weeping and are all accompanied by captions such as

Terribly Tiny Dr T wearing her psychiatrist's shoe arriving in her shiny black Saab convertible to save our sanity.

and this one that particularly took my eye.

I drew quite a lot of mugs. I drank a lot of tea.

A nice summary of marketing's true aim. It's not about making your customers drink a lot of tea, it's about making your customers think about mugs which in turn will cause them to drink a lot of tea.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Balazs said...

"It's not about making your customers drink a lot of tea, it's about making your customers think about mugs which in turn will cause them to drink a lot of tea."
Dear John, please excuse me but as a long time reader / first time commenter, I have to call bullshit on this one.

Using the same logic you could say "it's about making your customers think about chairs which in turn will cause them to sit down and drink tea".

Marketing's aim is to make people drink your tea. If you succeed by connecting mugs (or chairs, for that matter) to your tea in the mind of the customer, yay for your creativity. But this is not the aim, this is a nice to have, an elegant solution to a problem.

2:28 AM, June 09, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

Thankyou Balazs for being a long-time reader - it always surprises and cheers me when I read that. And thank you for calling me on this as I was struggling to express myself in this post.

The aim of marketing is not to make people drink tea but to make them want to drink your tea. Too often, campaigns just instil the idea of consumption in people's mind without making the connection to your specific offering.

The mug in this, perhaps clumsy, metaphor is that thing which connects that generalised desire to your specific product/service. So that when the prospective customer thinks of the desire , they immediately associate it with your company rather than anyone else's.

2:40 AM, June 09, 2009  
Anonymous niko said...

however mr Dodds, sometimes it helps to get people to drink tea in general. If you are market leader, odds are every new client will drink you?

Or do you feel that strict product connections are the way to go (even for market leaders).

Curious to hear your thoughts..

3:10 AM, June 09, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

My gut feeling Niko is that it's sub optimal, lazy and dangerous. You only remain market leader if you remain more desirable than the competition. If you market the category rather than your product/service there's a real danger that you're giving up on differentiation.

5:25 AM, June 09, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

An afterthought on Balazs's comment. It's interesting that your first comment after a long time reading is a criticism. I have no problem with that at all (debate is what this is all about) but it does speak to the Innocent post I wrote recently.

http://makemarketinghistory.blogspot.com/2009/05/look-behind-customer-numbers.html

5:31 AM, June 09, 2009  
Blogger Rob @ Cynic said...

Errrrm ... I don't know if that's strictly true, given I know quite a lot of people that don't drink tea from a mug. Infact in Asia, quite a lot drink it from a plastic bag with a straw in it.

I appreciate it can work for some people, but I also think you could argue making people scared to death or stressed to near collapse could have the same effect - and so whilst I can see what you're saying, I still think you've had better analogies of marketing ... such as marketing is about making people think one tea is more refreshing/joyous/slimming/romantic than others.

Possibly.

But I do like the strat - hell, I once told a telco to invest $'s in trying to get people to have pets as their research showed a higher proportion of animal owners used their service [because they used animals as their long-term ad theme] ... so B+, but not your best work.

5:06 AM, June 10, 2009  
Blogger peggy said...

is it innocent me you are referring to john? though, my first comment after a long time reading was not on the innocent post.

just for the record, i did not mean to criticise your view, but share some thoughts your post and rob's comment had sparked. peace :)

7:17 PM, June 10, 2009  
Anonymous photo mugs said...

"It's not about making your customers drink a lot of tea, it's about making your customers think about mugs which in turn will cause them to drink a lot of tea."

12:56 AM, January 06, 2011  

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