Friday, July 24, 2009


Behavioral Economics stresses that Human's often act irrationally. This is the bane of Advertising and Marketing. It causes people to buy things on impulse that they shouldn't buy and thus have buyers regret. And it also prevents people from buying things they should buy out of fear of change.

And the worst of all scenarios someone who resists trying something (major acquisition cost!), and then finally gives in and has buyers remorse.

As much as I read behavioral studies on how people act in general, you still can't guarantee people will act as expected. It is what makes like unique and wonderful, but it also adds significant cost to consumer retailers and businesses.

Think of the Supermarket Discount Loyalty Cards. Your data shows that Mrs. Jones comes in once a week and buys a Dark Chocolate Bar. Murphy's Law and Behavioral Economics will show that stocking the bar specifically for Mrs. Jone will most likely be the right choice. But 5 weeks of the year she buys White Chocolate with Almonds!

Think of all the gun and ammo manufacturers who ramped up production because of the buying spree of guns prior to Obama coming to office (irrationality to the extreme). Now they have over stock because the same paranoid people realized they were foolish and sales dropped! So irrational behavior did a double hit on the gun makers. They failed to meet unexpected demand. Then the demand died just when they ramped up!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Do not patronize your target audience!

Most marketers stick to simple ways of product promotion. When it comes to young adults often marketers try to show their product is hip, just like their audience. But sometimes this effort will actually offend your target by showing not only are you not in touch with what they are about, but they know it is some 'old person' just trying to make some money off them.

I wish to highlight two brands who do this right. And one that failed miserably.

The best example of doing it right is Mountain Dew. They know who buys their product. And because of this they sponsor Extreme Sports events. They are synonymous with the edgy fun young adult. This gives the Dew hipster credibility.

A more recent campaign is the 79 89 99 commercials from taco bell. They show funky young adults with a hip hop/street attitude. It is a fun commercial with music and focused on 'we know you want more food for less money'.

Now the flat out failure. This campaign even offends me and I am 41!

Motorola! The last thing this company needs is to alienate the youth from it's new cell phones. The intent is great the message is abominable. They have a print campaign in Rolling Stone to show off the A455 phone which is a cool looking device and specifically geared to text messaging. The problem is they don't know their audience. Yes the 3 models look kind of cool 18ish year olds. But the narrative is ridiculous. One is texting while at the concert gate. One is jumping a fence...uhm what fence? And you can not text while you are jumping a fence! And the last one which is most offensive is the girl 'on the glow stick line'. Obviously the creators have never been to a rave or techno party. First off there are no gates at most events that have glow sticks. Secondly Bush passed the Rave law preventing glow stick sales at public events. And if anything they will bring their own glow sticks!!!!!

Maybe Moto should stick with being what they do best. A provider of solid electronic communication gear for adults and industry.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

When Opt-In Content Becomes Spam...Email, Facebook, Twitter...

Today everyone is bombarded with media spam and clutter in our every day life. Walk or drive and you see billboards and company's advertising on their buildings/storefronts. Advertising is now in gas stations and the supermarkets. Even the men's room of bars have advertising!

Many brands, organizations and businesses use email and social networking with Opt-In programs thinking that these are superior to the traditional methods of Push Advertising. But in reality this is true only in the beginning. Eventually all those Opt-In methods become spam to consumers.

When the volume of Opt-In subscriptions reaches a point where they become clutter then your program loses it's effectiveness.

For example the front page of Facebook and Twitter shows a stream of events in time. Your friends/contacts/followers post information about current happenings that can be viewed by a consumer. But people don't crawl through the whole volume of postings once those postings become hard to follow due to volume. If you have 200 every time you log in then those posts drown each other out.

Same for email. I have a personal account that I have signed up for emails from Brands/Stores, News Providers, Sports Teams, Non-Profits Orgs, Political Groups, and Social/Lifestyle Events as well as friends contacting me. Today of my first 100 I combed through I deleted 93 of them without reading or opening them. Every single one of those 93 were Opt-In by me.

Yet when the CEO asks the CMO to review their marketing channels/programs the CMO will claim me in their tallies for the various Opt-In channels I subscribed too (from Cable TV to email) and the CMO will claim they reached me...yet that would be a lie.

The point of this post isn't to specifically offer a solution as much to be aware that Brands must get creative if they want to ensure they stand out. This goes beyond crafting a message or an image. It goes to the heart of Advertising and why CMO's have such high turnover. Specifically how you prove your value and your budgets value to the CEO! And to be fair sometimes the CMO or Agency is successful in their general mission yet are considered failures by the CEO. Other times the product or service is so good that no matter what the CMO or Agency does, they are a successful and take credit.

It is best to figure out a media plan that will increase the quality vs the quanitity of impressions/contact with the consumer. People will get your message out for you if you do a good job. Media plans should incorporate as much pay for performance as possible that is measurable/trackable.

Everyone looks after their own best interest. Your Agencies and Marketing Departments for years have relied on fuzzy math and logic to ensure you keep spending your ad dollars no matter what happens. Often with little proof of accomplishment. Some branding efforts will never be able to be truly measured.

Some image building programs will be done less with regard to increasing sales as much as supporting the demands of the brand. Think of a Rolex Bill Board or Panel Ad in an Airport. They know most of the people viewing the ads can never afford their watches but they need to present themselves to the common person so that the elite will feel special when they buy a Rolex. So these programs should not end, but brands should break out of their media budget the actual dollars they wish to allocate to actually bringing in sales and figure out how to maximize the return on those invested dollars vs. using the dart board/shot gun/me too-follow what everyone is doing approach.