Posted by Scott Dunn on August 28, 2008
- “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” French Proverb
- “The fundamental things apply, as time goes by.” Composer Herman Hupfeld
In every election time, the “out” candidates call for change. Changes in policy and ethics, but mostly for the people in charge—them replaced by us. (And often with favorable result—good riddance!)
Before we throw the baby out with the bathwater we should consider—
- Where exactly are we headed, and as far as we can tell,
- What are the unintended consequences?
Students in my advertising classes are certain that my generation (Mad Men) is obsolete. The internet and the ubiquity of social media wipes out all the old beliefs, and the old “rules” are silly. But when the cyber dust settles, what will remain?—
The wreckage of brands with no equity, and Innumerable files of failed ads with no benefits, no reason–why, no human contact.
No matter where technology leads us next, the fundamental things of marketing (and life) will still apply.
The dot-com boom of the ’90s convinced most of us that there is a new ball game in investing—the substance and longevity of new issues were irrelevant. Yes, it changed, to our regret. Now we’re back to sanity.
In marketing we should view change as incremental, not revolutionary. Technology is a tool, not an end. What is the (hidden) worth of a product, and how can technology make it easier to use?
Hamlet said it best— “And makes us rather bear the ills we have. Than fly to others we know not of.”
Students are masters of dazzling power point presentations. Sometimes, somewhere in them is a germ of an insight, a telling fact. But most of the dazzle is blowing in the wind.
I say, beware of change merchants. What are they really selling? If they say, “Hey, buy this product because it is something different, not like the old stuff.” Shouldn’t your reaction be, “All well and good. Now show me why I should believe it.”
By George Lemmond
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Posted by Scott Dunn on August 20, 2008
Are you giving away the farm when you give away some of your product? Are you giving away your secrets, and not protecting your family’s jewels?
Assuming you are a believer in your product and are proud of it, sampling is the most potent arrow in your marketing quiver.
If a picture is worth a hundred words, then a taste is worth a thousand pictures. One definition of a sample is, “A representative part from a larger whole presented for inspection as evidence of quality.” How could there be a smarter prelude to winning marketing?
Some of the greatest food chains are Wegman’s (Rochester, NY) and Whole Foods.
You can’t get out of one of their stores hungry, because the have fed you with delicious samples. And it’s hard to leave without spending a bundle.
There are many ways, other than eating, to sample your goods:
- Barnes Noble wants you to read books, so they make that inviting and easy. They don’t care if you mess up their displays or spill coffee. You will ultimately buy books.
- A good car dealer lets you take a car home for the weekend.
- A masseuse gives you a free neck rub.
- The “spritzer” in Macy’s cosmetics aisle gives you a breath of alluring air.
- A financial planner or a marketing consultant gives you a free hour of advice.
- A stand-up comedian starts with a chuckle, and preacher invokes hope.
It’s important to note that sampling should not be a preview of the price. It’s a demonstration of the confidence in your product. Don’t compete on price: only Wal*Mart can succeed in that game. Don’t give away too much.
Suppose that you are in a play-off with two others for a new customer, and you are each given thirty seconds. The first two gave good, succinct “elevator speeches.” Then it’s your turn. You announce your name, your brand’s main benefit, and bestow a sample. Guess who wins.
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