Business Time - Marketing Doesn’t Work on Me

Monday 11 April 2011

Business Time - Marketing Doesn’t Work on Me

by Duncan Watts


What is marketing, and why it works on everyone!

A friend of mine once proudly remarked that “marketing doesn’t work on me.”
She arrived at this conclusion while ridiculing my undying loyalty to Nike and anything endorsed by US basketball legends Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Her justifications to this claim? I’ve listed them below, along with my rebuttals.

1.    “Colgate’s television and newspaper advertising doesn’t affect my toothpaste selection.”

Firstly, marketing is NOT advertising.

Rather, advertising is one of the many available methods to communicate with an intended audience. Advertising is usually the end result of a lot of research and planning to determine what to say, who to say it to, and how to say it.

THAT process is what we call marketing.

Secondly, advertising doesn’t have to be about making the audience go out and immediately buy your product. It can be used to build awareness over time; what you think is your random selection of toothpaste is probably the result of years of brand awareness and careful placement on the fourth shelve of aisle nine.

2.    “I don’t buy the pretty-looking cans with pictures when grocery shopping. I only buy no-name brands.”

That’s an example of successful marketing if I’ve ever heard one. Some of the most easily-spotted brands in the shopping aisles are the distinct white and red Home Brand goods. This packaging is the result of a concerted marketing and research effort to associate these colours with ‘value’ and ‘low cost’.

The term ‘no-name brand’ is a misnomer – it’s vying for your grocery dollars just as hard as the other brands. The ‘quality’ brands may not have resonated with my friend, but the value-based ones did.

3.    “I don’t buy clothes for the brand name – price is the most important factor for me.”

Sorry… you’ve just fallen victim to marketing again.

Marketers cottoned onto the importance of price in positioning a product a long time ago, and it forms a key part of positioning a product amongst its competitors.

My friend has since admitted to witnessing an extreme example of the power of pricing at work. The retailer she worked for couldn’t give away a bin of free men’s grooming sample packs, but they sold within hours once he slapped a $5 price tag on. Suddenly, people had perceived a deal where they originally saw a bin of unwanted items.

So, nameless friend, that’s my rebuttal to your marketing sacrilege. Not only did you not know what marketing is, you didn’t realise you were a sucker like me!
Petty arguments aside, as a business owner or professional it is important to know how far the tentacles of marketing spread.

Rather than limiting your ‘marketing’ to one advertisement and an e-newsletter each month, consider that marketing should shape anything about your business which your customers (or potential customers, or the general public) come into contact with. That could be:

♣    Your shop front
♣    Your sales person’s greeting
♣    Your sales pitch
♣    Your brochure
♣    Your other customers – word of mouth
♣    Your after-sales follow up service

That is to say, you should decide what message you want to deliver to your customers, and then set about doing it consistently throughout your business – not just in a few newspaper advertisements.

Marketing works on everyone – use it!

Duncan Watts is a Business Consultant at The 20/20 Group in Cairns.