Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Make Marketing Interesting.

The resurgence of sales that follows an artist's death is just one example of the social aspect of consumption. Output that has been ignored in recent years suddenly become hugely popular and Amazon sales rise 700-fold.

It's all a timely confirmation of a recent New Scientist article that discusses the longevity of performers' careers extending beyond their peak. The reason? People are social animals who like/need to share common ground.

The human desire to find common ground in conversation pushes us to discuss already popular people.

The long tail of marketing is not one of low sales across a wide range of products, it's a long tail of continued sales across a wide range of time. Making your marketing interesting now will ensure that it remains interesting long into the future.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Feel Of A Name

A woman was explaining to me tonight how the url of her new venture was pleasing to type in the sense of the relative movements of either hand.

This had occurred by luck rather than design, but it makes one think. I'm personally a little sceptical about the positive impact of a product or service name - unless it is a spectacularly good one. But making it easy/fun to type might be a clever reinforcer and a way to utilise the impact of the sense of touch in a previously unconsidered way.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Holding Out For A Hero's Story.

Intel's latest campaign takes the idea of creating a story to heart by looking at the concept of hero/rock-star in a different way and thereby differentiating their tone of voice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Storyspace Is the New Airtime.

Marketers have traditionally spent a lot of their budget on obtaining airtime or its equivalent in various media. Exposure was deemed to be the direct route to attention and maybe interest.

Purefold suggests the provocative alternative of focussing one's budget on acquiring as big a share of the "storyspace" as possible.

Their stories are creative-commons-protected, crowd-sourced ideas centred upon subjects suggested and sponsored by businesses. Yours don't need to be. But you do need to have stories around which a crowd will congregate.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What Do You Want Your Customers To Say?

You're in a restaurant. You've been served and are eating your meal. Your table is then approached by a waiter/waitress and you can be asked one of two questions.

1) Is everything OK?

2) Is there anything else I can help you with?

Unless you're particularly belligerent or annoyed, your response to the first will probably be a polite "yes, thank you" regardless of the situation. You'll feel faintly patronised and the establishment will learn nothing about how to improve their service nor understand why you don't return.

Always ask questions that give you meaningful answers. You may not always like them, but it's far preferable to sticking your head on the sand.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Give And Take Marketing.

I was told yesterday that Yahoo had recently upgraded their messenger service for mac users. Was that person happy? No, because after waiting a long time for this improved version to be offered, he discovered that he would have to upgrade his otherwise perfectly adequate computer in order to use it.

I imagine that would be frustrating enough if he had to continue to use the previous software, but I was then told that while launching the new version, Yahoo had decided to make the original obsolete.

Now my friend is I'm sure in the minority of messenger users, but who knows how sizeable a minority? Compelling a frustrated user to become a non-user unless he is prepared to spend a significant amount of money on a hardware upgrade seems to me to be a very perverse act for a non-hardware company to make. I don't see the upside for them. And I know their former user is intent on ensuring they don't have one.

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.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Authentic Vernacular.

If it doesn't ring true, there's no way you will make a prospective customer believe it. In marketing, hope conquers nothing.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Value Judgements.

Making general quality claims is bad enough. But as soon as you mention pennies and have the timerity not to mention what you'll be charging the customers, you've definitely lost them. How do you know what they consider to be good value?

They're the customers' pennies you're talking about, not yours. Customers judge value, not you. Don't tell them that you provide value for money, just make sure you do so unquestionably.

Addendum: Stella Artois' "reassuringly expensive" is the line they surely wish they could have used.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Nothing To Say?

If you say something when you have nothing to say then, at best, you will bore people; at worst, you will annoy and alienate them.

Since they have limited attention to expend, people don't want to waste any of it on your non-statements, so you should only say something if you have something to say.

If you truly have nothing to say, then the best policy is to say nothing.

The corollary, of course, is the redeployment of some of the time and money you would have wasted by making a song and dance about nothing. A redeployment towards examining the pressing question of why your business is so uninspiring to you, let alone your potential customers, that you find yourself having nothing to say.