Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, July 30, 2012

What Chinese Want.

We hear all about China and its inevitable rise, but how much do most of us know about the place? My answer to that question was virtually nothing, so it was a very nice surprise to receive this book some months ago. It's taught me a lot (subject to cross-referencing of course) and is a good mix of assertions and business and cultural examples.

I find it hard to believe that Chinese cultural hierarchy is incompatible with creativity and innovation, but perhaps that is just an example of my uninformed pre-conceptions. And if you don't challenge your assumptions about the markets you're targetting,  you end up making big mistakes. You can never know enough and you need to be sure you know anything.

Addendum: This is not business-related but as an insight into other people's lives (this time in the southern USA) it's remarkable.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

They're Not Consumers, They're Your Customers.

Marketers constantly emphasise their humanity, yet insist on using the impersonal term consumer. It's inaccurate, it's distracting and it needs to stop.

It's inaccurate beause the person to whom they're selling is not necessarily the person who actually consumes the product/service if, indeed, anyone does.

It's distracting because to label him/her as the consumer distances the marketer from the person that matters, the person who makes the purchase be that on their own behalf or on behalf of their family or someone to whom they want to give a gift.

It's their hard-earned money that is paying your salary and referring to them as your customers is a discipline that will remind you of that every day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bad Marketing.

Many people in business don't understand statistics or finance and that's appalling. Similarly, far too many people neither understand marketing nor know what it is and that's marketers fault. Shel Israel's article  about how marketing is ruining social media is just the latest illustration of that. There's nothing wrong with the argument, it's just that it's not marketing that's at fault, it's bad marketers.

Bad marketers are short-term salespeople rather than long-term marketers.

Bad marketers see everything in terms of marketing opportunities.

Bad marketers would rather do anything than opt to do seemingly nothing. 

Bad marketers see people as consumers not customers.

Bad marketers lack respect for other people's creativity. 

Bad marketers see channels where people see entertainment or utility.

Bad marketers overvalue the new and undervalue the present.

Bad marketers do what they've always done.

Bad marketers use all the jargon but understand very little of it.

Bad marketers don't question their assumptions.

Bad marketers are the reason  I wrote Geek Marketing 101 six years ago.

Bad marketers have given marketing a bad name.

Bad marketers are still doing what they've always done.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Know Your Customers.

Chatting to a colleague yesterday,  I was surprised to learn how often marketers still fail to discover how their category users decide on their purchases, let alone why.

The primary concern of these functionaries remains the sourcing of messages/proclamations designed to change people's behaviour. Well,  good luck with that. Behaviour change is very, very difficult.

It's surely much simpler to seek to understand existing behaviour and then position your product/service in that vicinity either by devising new products/services or by reframing the user behaviour in terms of your existing products/services.

Marketers often claim to know who their customers are, be that in demographic or, more usefully, related behavioural terms. I prefer a more obvious definition. Your customers are those people who decide that your product/service meets one or more of their needs/wants in a better way than any existing alternative.

If you don't know why,  then you don't know who your customers are and you're probably doomed.