Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sum Of The Marketing Whole.

That's nearly £20 per day! Or to put it another way, never assume that any single element of your marketing will be considered in isolation. Not even the last-minute, additional strap-line on your sales advertisement.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Make Marketing Simple.

It's all about making every aspect of the product/service experience as good as they can be and thereby making the user feel great about their achievements/ownership.

But job one is making every aspect of the product/service experience as straightforward as possible and thereby not making the user feel stupid.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes.

A recent review of the scientific literature has controversially suggested that breastfeeding does not bestow the benefits that have been claimed for it in recent times. is very hard to separate the benefits of the mother’s milk from the benefits of the kind of mother who chooses to breastfeed.....In other words, breastfeeding studies could simply be showing what it’s like to grow up in a family that makes an effort to be healthy and responsible, as opposed to anything positive in breast milk.

I'm not qualified to question that view and the logic does seem valid, but by chance I recently heard Sarah Blaffer Hrdy mention (in an aside about infant abandonment) that primates who breastfeed experience increased prolactin and oxytocin levels which helps them bond with their offspring.

The marketing lessons: replication isn't enough and the most significant impact of your product/service isn't always the obvious one.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Common Sense Isn't.

In recent weeks, I've blogged less frequently than before because I felt it had all been said and that surely everybody knows this stuff.

But tonight, I heard industry practitioners speaking of clients worried about losing control of their messaging, obsessed with identifying those mythical influencers and, best of all, of the opinion that "the internet was only for people who love us or hate us - when we should surely be focussing on the indifferent masses."

Perhaps your competitors don't know half as much as you think they do. Perhaps that gives you a great opportunity to steal a march on them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Direct Marketing 101.

This full-page Siemens ad appeared in today's Times. Complete with those two boxes obscuring the image.

Now I've nothing against VR codes. My friend used the first one in the UK, but did so via a full-size outdoor poster which was one big VR code. Here it's slotted in as an afterthought - one that won't reach many people, one that distracts from the rest of the copy and one that ruins the design.

It's effectively asking the readers to do something (scan the code)before they can find out what it is Siemens want to tell them. That's like the url that leads to a webpage with an "Enter here" button. That's like the customer service number that leads to a labyrinthine telephone menu. That's like the headline offer that forgets to tell you about the small print. It's all bad marketing.

If you've somehow earned the customer's scarce attention, then at least have the sense to tell them something. Directly.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Say It Ain't So.

Manuel Castells bored me rigid tonight while discussing his new book about power relations and networked societies, but he did suggest that a nugget of information is five times more likely to register in one's brain if it conforms to one's existing beliefs.

He suggested that this was why liberals listened to NPR and Republicans watched Fox News and that the media didn't actually lead opinions. I saw it as powerful confirmation of the idea that communications can only bolster what people already believe about specific products and services. If your product/service isn't credible, you can't convince people otherwise.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Let's Get Physical?

Projects that translate digital content into something physical (combining the ease of the former with the tangibility of the latter) are all the rage in the marketing world. They speak to some basic human needs for tactility and possession and are a reaction to the increasing virtuality of many people's lives.

While I love the whole idea of this Nike project and its modernisation of the age-old tradition of chalking messages on the Tour de France road, I'm not sure it is physical enough. If yours is one of the 100,000 messages, what is the likelihood of your seeing it? The race is, after all, nearly 2000 miles and three weeks long.

Obviously, a lot of these issues will have been addressed but, in the context of such a huge "tarmac "billboard", is it personal enough? Or is it simply physical?

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Congestion Of The Crowd.

Listening to Chris Anderson discuss his new book Free last week was an uneasy experience for me. Not because of my feelings about the limits of his argument, but because I realised I knew about ten to fifteen percent of the audience. While it was great to catch up with many of them afterwards, I was struck that my learning would be more differentiated and therefore valuable if I were in an audience of strangers.

This was confirmed a few evenings later, when I sat in an audience of strangers at a design seminar where various designers spoke of their influences and inspirations pecha-kucha style. Admittedly, I was there because I knew three of the nine people on stage, but that was pretty much all I knew. No prizes for guessing which experience was the more inspirational, informative and intoxicating.

Since you want to make your product/service stand out from the crowd, it really helps if you occassionally do so too. Looking at the world through different eyes is a great way to start.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I Am Not A Number.

Two recent snippets of information that came my way.

Channel 4 Television commissioned some research into teenagers so as to better tailor its education programming. Urban Tribes revealed that 50% of them consider themselves to be "alternative" while only 25% admitted to being "mainstream".

Jonathan Ive, Apple's creative director, reminded his audience this week that "we don't do focus groups".

Knowing best is all about really knowing and not just receiving answers and assuming they represent knowledge.