Happy Valentine’s Day!

What marketing lessons can we learn from today?

Here are some thoughts:

Delivering the right message to the right audience is critical to success.

You must be intimately familiar with your consumers to know what is going to push their hot buttons, just as you must be sensitive to your Valentine’s deepest desires. If you give a new mother sexy lingerie for Valentine’s Day, you are likely to get punched in the face. However, a certificate good for one “middle-of-the-night-feeding-so-she can-keep-sleeping” will earn you “Husband of the Year” status. So too with your customers: what can you give them that will make them love you forever?

Failing to deliver on expectations can be devastating to your ability to close the sale.

No cards, no flowers, no chocolate, no benefits? No sale.

Sometimes, the littlest gesture can make a loyal customer for life.

If you sent a email to your sweetheart today that simply said, “I love you,” it probably made a huge impact.

Customize your offer as much as possible.

Handmade valentines, made with construction paper, doilies, glitter and (usually) too much glue have a way bigger impact than one hurriedly purchased at the grocery store as an afterthought.

 

If you want to get “lucky,” find out what turns your customers on!

Do you know what your key benefits are?  I am teaching a seminar in March and April about “How to Make Yourself Irresistible to Your Customers.” Come find out how!

Super Bowl So Whats

For football fans and marketers alike, the Super Bowl is one of the high holy days of the year. 100 million people watched one of the most thrilling nail-biter games in SuperBowl history, but during the commercial breaks, there was absolutely nothing to see! The heart of the Giants won the day on the field, but on-screen, there just wasn’t much to talk about.

I was embarrassed for my industry. How have we come to this? I try to put myself in the advertiser’s target’s shoes, but this year, I just found I still couldn’t find the good in this year’s sad batch of commercials. I’m certain that these companies will survive (and even thrive), but what a waste of nearly $3MM (each!). Here are my questions:

When Charlie Brown ends up with the Coke, are we supposed to take from that commercial that luvable losers drink Coke?

Is there really no redeeming benefit to be portrayed for Bud Lite? How can you get up every morning and sell a product that would spend millions to say nothing? Is the fact that “you can’t breathe fire” and “it doesn’t make you fly” really all they have to say?

Who actually approved the Panda spot for salesleads.com (or was it salesgenie.com)?

Why is it that I (a female) am still, after all these years, not considered a viable target for GoDaddy.com? (I know that I am not the target because, if I were, they would never run the offensive commercials that get approved and aired every year and in the case of this year’s spot, wasn’t even clean enough to air on TV! If you can’t get something to clear Standards & Practices due to sexual content, you shouldn’t even be thinking of airing the spot to begin with.)

Who at CareerBuilder.com thought that a disgusting pumping heart would empower Americans to follow their dreams of doing meaningful work? It’s my understanding that CareerBuilder fired their agency last year for failing to make it in to USA Today’s Top 10 Admeter list. Perhaps they ought to be looking in the mirror to find the fault – you know what they say, garbage in, garbage out!

Well, which ones did you like, Rahna? The Clydesdale in training was noteworthy, and the E-trade spots were memorable. The Hyundai ad was straightforward, clear and interesting, although not worthy of Monday-morning water-cooler conversation. Overall, a big disappointment! For anyone who’s interested, here is the link to the admeter scores from this year’s Big Game: www.usatoday.com/money/advertising/admeter/2008admeter.htm?csp=34

HOW SNOW IS RELEVANT

I love The Weather Channel, and as I was watching it this weekend, I was reminded of the critical marketing concept of relevancy. You see, we were getting ready for a major snow storm here in the Northeast, and so we watched The Weather Channel with deep interest. I love snow, so I was annoying my husband by saying, “Go back to The Weather Channel so we can see how much snow we are going to get.” Every 10 minutes, they give a local broadcast to tell you what the weather in your area would be; people who watch The Weather Channel know that’s where you turn for weather “on the eight’s.”

So what does this have to do with marketing? Relevancy. People in California don’t watch The Weather Channel because, of course, there is not usually any weather. If it was a 70-something degrees today, it is going to be 70-something degrees tomorrow. It is pleasant every day. Now, I can hear all you Californians arguing that California does have seasons — the Brush Fire Season, the Earthquake Season and the Mud Slide Season — but in general, there is not a lot of California weather to report. But in the rest of the world, the weather does change, and you do need to know what it is going to be like so that you can dress and plan appropriately.

“Weather on the Eight’s” is the ultimate in relevancy: information that affects MY life. In your business, you need to get to that level of detail and intimacy with your customers. If you can relate the information, products and services that you have to a person’s personal life — what is involved in their life — you will be successful, and you will be able to sell anything you want because you have proved your relevancy to their lives.

How Snow is Relevant

I love The Weather Channel, and as I was watching it this weekend, I was reminded of the critical marketing concept of relevancy. You see, we were getting ready for a major snow storm here in the Northeast, and so we watched The Weather Channel with deep interest. I love snow, so I was annoying my husband by saying, “Go back to The Weather Channel so we can see how much snow we are going to get.” Every 10 minutes, they give a local broadcast to tell you what the weather in your area would be; people who watch The Weather Channel know that’s where you turn for weather “on the eight’s.”

So what does this have to do with marketing? Relevancy. People in California don’t watch The Weather Channel because, of course, there is not usually any weather. If it was a 70-something degrees today, it is going to be 70-something degrees tomorrow. It is pleasant every day. Now, I can hear all you Californians arguing that California does have seasons “the Brush Fire Season, the Earthquake Season and the Mud Slide Season” but in general, there is not a lot of California weather to report. But in the rest of the world, the weather does change, and you do need to know what it is going to be like so that you can dress and plan appropriately. 

“Weather on the Eight’s” is the ultimate in relevancy-information that affects MY life. In your business, you need to get to that level of detail and intimacy with your customers. If you can relate the information, products and services that you have to a person’s personal life “what is involved in their life” you will be successful, and you will be able to sell anything you want because you have proved your relevancy to their lives.

Merry Everything & Happy Always!

There will be no new brilliant marketing discussion this week due to the Christmas holidays. It doesn’t mean that I won’t be thinking about marketing….I’m always thinking about marketing. (I’m certain there will be some marketing books under the Christmas tree for me.) I just won’t be able to share those thoughts with you until the new year. I hope you have a peaceful holiday filled with laughter and inspiration.

MARKETING ROI

“I know I waste half the money I spend on advertising. The problem is, I don’t know which half.”

John Wannamaker, founding father of modern department store retailing

ROI Marketing has been talked about for several years, but what does it really mean? I can’t argue that one should know what marketing works and what marketing doesn’t. But everyone seems to have an opinion about exactly what to measure. Here’s a recent laundry list of many of the various metrics being touted — some “classic” measures, some newer to the scene:

Share of Market

Share of Voice

Share of Wallet

Response Rates

Active Share 

Purchase Frequency

ClickThru Rates

Event Traffic

Cost Per Thousand

Cost Per Lead

Cost to Acquire

Order Value

Customer Lifetime Value

Brand Equity

Lead Per Sales Rep

Campaign Payback

Lead Aging 

Prospects Generated

Price Per Transaction

Churn Rate

Awareness

Persuasion

Net Advocacy

 

The articles that I have seen have high-profile MBA professors and high-profile consultants all talking about what they think should be measured, but it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Measuring any of the things on those lists is admirable, but it may be completely irrelevant to your particular business. You must first look at what your objectives are, then figure out a way to measure whether it is accomplishing that objective. 

The most important learning to be taken from the concepts of ROI Marketing should be: measure something. In order to avoid Wannamaker’s malaise, don’t just blindly spend money without knowing if it is returning anything to you. Put metrics in place to measure it!

Consistency in Every Detail

I am conducting a four-part tele-seminar about branding, and the discussion came up about consistency. It is of critical importance, as it ensures that every little touchpoint with the consumer resonates with all the other communications that impact your brand identity. I was trying to point out how clear branding is by asking people to quickly choose: “Coke or Pepsi? Target or Wal-Mart?” It’s an easy enough exercise when the brand is clear; but not so easy when inconsistencies come in. The person responding to “Target or Wal-Mart?” struggled because, while they liked the Target commercials and loved the stores they visited in California, they did not like what they saw in Connecticut. Hmmmm. Seems even the big super-marketeers stumble over their brands occasionally. Their inconsistency cost them a consumer. Multiply that by a few million people and that can really make a difference to the bottom line! Ouch. Is there any inconsistency in your brand that might be costing you a customer?

Taglines Obsolete?

I read an article from BrandWeek today about how taglines are being used less and less www.brandweek.com/bw/news/recent_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003677226. Are taglines going away? I don’t think so. It has to do with being true to your brand. What are you about? If you can communicate that without a tagline, that’s fine. They pointed to Starbucks as an example of one who doesn’t need a tagline….but what the article does not address is all the other ways that a brand has to communicate its message. Creating distinctiveness is not always done with words. It can be done visually (think about the Target advertising), audibly (anyone can sing Intel’s jingle), through a spokesperson (the Maytag repairman), or a creative format (like the Apple guy who appears regularly with the sadly inept PC guy). It’s not that taglines are going away; it’s that they aren’t always the best choice for creating brand consistency and messaging!

Rabid Fans Buy High-Priced Products

I attended The Learning Annex’s Wealth Expo this weekend in New York, and there are lots of marketing lessons to be taken from it. From Tony Robbin’s motivational session that talked about how anyone can achieve happiness by a change of mindset to Donald Trump’s typically self-aggrandizing and simultaneously sobering message that not everyone in the bright-eyed audience is cut out for entrepreneurialism, there were a diverse group of real-estate-related gurus in attendance. The weekend was a masterful sales machine, a 28-hour infomercial given to a highly motivated target audience of real estate junkies seeking wealth. Sales for the two days can be counted in the millions!!!

The weekend was informative on many levels. Here is what I learned:

  • Getting to the right target audience with a highly compelling time sensitive offer will result in massive sales no matter what the economic indicator show.
  • I am glad I am not friends with Donald Trump. He admitted that he likes to hang out with losers because it makes him feel better about himself.
  • It is important to motivate your customers, not just inform. Marketers should strive to make their consumers feel–cherished, empowered, confident, satisfied–that what they are offering is going to positively impact their customers lives.

This event will be discussed in more detail in the newsletter at beacon-marketing.com.

Consumer Engagement is Still (Always!) Relevant

I was having a conversation with a media industry executive recently about consumer engagement, and they made the argument that that topic is passe, that it was hot last year or the year before, but was not now. I disagree. I don’t think consumer engagement should ever be pass. It is the critical element of any brand” relevance! If consumers engage with your brand consistently, you will never go hungry. Your bottom line will always reflect that you are providing something of value, something worth engaging in. There may be new buzzwords to describe it, but in the end, it’s involvement with your brand. I don’t know of any marketer worth his salt who would say that emotional connectivity is something he does not want or need for his brand.

I realize this is a simple idea. I do think, however, that simple doesn’t necessarily mean boring or useless. In any of my jobs, I have gotten so caught up in whatever challenges I was facing, that I often would forget the basics. Being reminded of the simple truths, the clear principles of advertising and marketing that were just as important when David Ogilvy wrote about them as they are today, is worthwhile. Marketers need to find fresh ways to bring their ideas to consumers (Facebook, cell phones, podcasting, YouTube) but the principles remain the same.