Category Archives: Thoughts on Marketing

Customers and their Requirements

This post was meant for yesterday.

Yesterday, I read a fantastic article which I felt speaks a bit to what I was talking about a few days ago. This article from the {grow} blog is a really interesting take on the prevailing understanding that the customer is always right.

The article can be found by clicking [or touching] ———> here

I found this blog through twitter and following @markschaefer. It always has great ideas and general thoughts about marketing and social media. There are some really great posts which are more than worthwhile.



The Challenge: Implementation

Today, we shall continue our voyage into my attempt at targeting older demographics to bolster Apple iPad 2 sales. In the first installment we began to understand our customers. They are old men who aren’t technologically savvy.

Now, we’ve established a framework for how the commercial’s will look and what changes I’d make. This brings us to the implementation of the campaign.

The commercials will be slotted to appear during programs the older demographic [60-70 years old] frequently watches. Based on solely personal experience I feel the news is an incredible place to start. Much of the younger generations don’t watch the evening news simply out of the fact we get our information elsewhere [social media, online news, etc.], yet the older demographics are more likely to tune in because it is what they have always done. We, as humans, are creatures of habits. Not only do we stick with what works, but we will even stick to something that doesn’t just because we’re comfortable with it. That said, this is the exact issue marketing to this demographic presents.

My plan would be to slowly integrate the ad campaign into the nightly news time slots [4pm-6pm]. From there, I would continue my research and see if maybe day-time television would be a road to take [This is where some serious research would have to be done in collaboration with the major networks to truly understand where my audience watches]. However, with regard to the news slots, I would slowly increase the frequency of the revamped commercials demonstrating the feasibility of older people using the iPad 2 to enrich their lives. Not only would this then inform the right target market, but it would also remove some of the anxiety new technology often creates innately.


Next, on our journey through my marketing campaign, I’m going to come up with a commercial. Establish the setting, get the gist of what the actors will say, and paint a verbal picture of what the targeted audience will see.


Cute Ad Campaign

Post graduation, I feel I’ve become infatuated with everything marketing. I don’t ignore advertising any more, I look for it. This may bring out my inner nerd, but I enjoy it. Whether it be walking down the street, listening to the radio, or watching TV, I love ads [about the only ones I can’t stand are the ones on words with friends]. Lately, I’ve found a campaign that really strikes a chord with me.

The Cuties campaign very light and bright, but it is simple. Here is a taste of what they are doing to try and get the world to buy Cuties. I feel this is one of the most complete ads in recent memory. After hearing this spot a few times, I found myself repeating the tagline, “Kids love Cuties because Cuties are made for kids” over and over trying to match the innocent, sweet voice of the narrator. All the commercial consists of is two kids sitting eating Cuties. No fancy photography, not special effects, nothing. The words of the narrator seem so pure because of how innocent she sounds. Everything in this commercial is working together, pulling on heartstrings [aka ethos] and making you want to either give that experience to a child, or relive your own childhood by eating a cutie [who doesn’t remember getting covered in cutie juice and having your hands smell fantastic for the rest of the day?].

The campaign is well rounded, pulling on emotions, driving the consumer to feel they need this product. They highlight the benefits of the product: sweet, seedless, EZ peel. It has a safe feeling which right now is difficult to feel in our current economic times. Whoever said sex sells was smart, but that method tends to have a guiltiness to it. I just feel wonderful after watching a commercial like this, kids/innocence sell.


The Challenge: Marketing to both Happy and Grumpy

Yesterday, I talked a little bit about the trails and tribulations of having to market a product to a wide spectrum of people. Today, I’m going to begin to tackle a hypothetical project I’ve created for myself.

The Challenge:
  • Take the Apple iPad 2 [one of my favorite products in the world right now] and market it to a cynic as well as an innocent, demonstrating its value.

I’m thinking this is going to be a very multifaceted plan, so it will take up a few blog posts. I won’t harp on this daily [that is unless there is an amazing amount of demand for me to continue]. I want mix it up, but I feel this is a good way to work through some of my ideas, putting them into theoretical practice.

Target Audience:

The two men from the restaurant. Both are in their mid-sixties, have ample buying power, and both are still working. They are each full of energy and enjoy being out and about whether it be for business or pleasure. Neither is very technologically savvy, nor are they planning to join techies any time soon. They both have grandchildren who are all over the newest technology, but the two gentlemen have no interest. Just as in the restaurant, one is open to conversation–willing to take a minute to talk to someone, read something someone else has suggested, and enjoy time out in a public space with family. The second gentleman is more reserved. He doesn’t like to be bothered with frivolities, walks with purpose to avoid others, and always has a task to accomplish.

First Steps:

We now know who I’m going after. These two guys fit the bill of a supposedly hopeless situation from the stand point of getting them to buy new technology. However, they just don’t know how beneficial it can be. They aren’t informed as to how the iPad 2 can help them in their everyday life. Thus, how do I even start to inform these people about this amazing product. I want a new devotion to older demographics. All of Apple’s marketing seems to focus on young, hip people. People who are artsy, creatives, even hippies, but the ipad 2 spans greater demographics. I would implement a new campaign to build off the current ones in place. Using older actors in commercials would be a simple way to begin accomplishing my goal. The commercials would highlight the features [ie. pinch to zoom, multitasking gestures, facetime] in a way that would communicate the benefits an iPad 2 has for older people. Taking Apple’s advertising budget into account, adding a few more actors and having a few more spots would not break the bank.


The next installment will address when and how these commercials will be presented, and how I would go about implementing this idea.


Restauranting: The People Who Eat Out

While I’ve been job hunting, I’ve been paying the bills with a gig at a breakfast restaurant. I worked there in high school, and the GM was a server back then and was gracious enough to hire me on. While I’m thankful for the income and the ability to pay my bills, working in a restaurant is incredible motivation to get a real job [I don’t mean to demean it, but I’d rather be doing something else]. Despite this, it is highly entertaining.

I spend a lot of time at the front of the restaurant, and I get to see all the different types of people walking in and out. Yesterday, I found myself laughing at the innocence of the elderly, as well as amazed at the rudeness of people. All the while, I’m thinking to myself…”I have to market products/services that could potentially cover this spectrum?” First, the old man who made me laugh simply responded to my wishing him a good day with “Take care of your health.” Now, the response normally is ‘you too’ [see Brian Regan], however, his response gave me pause. I’m sure he was just struggling to come up with the stereotypical, appropriate response, but I felt he was genuine. Thus, there are people who will openly listen to what you have to say, and give a response either positively or negatively. Basically, these people could be classified as well-intentioned–at least superficially. It is easy to market to this demographic because you can easily ensnare them, and get your message across without much of a barrier. Wonderful! However, the other group is a little tougher.

An apt portrayal of the customers.

The second person did not enjoy his time at the restaurant and his response to how was everything today was, “We won’t be back, does that answer your question?” I was a bit taken aback. I dug a little more to find the root of the issue and what it boiled down to was a miscommunication. Think of the telephone game you played back in grade school. The message gets jumbled the more times it is re-communicated. The server didn’t quite get it, the kitchen tweaked it more, and the end result was an unhappy customer. Instead of understanding it wasn’t necessarily the end of the world [like he made it sound] he became irate, demanded things, and got grumpy. This person is a little more difficult to market too, unless of course you’re trying to sell Oscar the Grouch. They may filter information, avoid it, or totally disregard it–much higher barriers to mindshare.

If you can market something upbeat, in your face, and exciting to a grinch, I feel you are well on your way to becoming a true marketing guru.


#FF (Follow Friday)


#FF is a fantastic tool on twitter. Not only is it a way to show some respect to those you find interesting and worthwhile, but it allows for networking at an incredible pace. I truly love this twitterism because it brings out the altruistic nature of this social media.

People are willing to share, reach out, and give advice. There is a complete lack of barriers, no gate keepers here. Being able to befriend people who are like minded is incredibly beneficial.

Using the Follow Friday hashtag can expand your followers as well. Building that list of people who potentially care about what you think will lead to more opportunities in the future. Whether they be job opportunities, business ventures, or investments; it is a group of people who you have some type of connection with.

Networking is a key component to life, and twitter is an incredible tool. It’s much different than a LinkedIn or a Facebook. Everything is put there for the world to see.


Branding: Bah humbug or Beautiful

I read an article this morning about the importance of branding [via @AndrewMackayBP]. The Tentblogger brought up some interesting points which I love about marketing.

I won’t go into the nitty gritty of the article, but my favorite part was about evangelizing for a brand. I feel like this is the ultimate goal for marketing. A marketer starts with a product. Then they have to find a way to demonstrate why the consumer should by theirs as opposed to another. From there, marketing forks into a billion different avenues to accomplish their communication. Companies themselves have a lot less to lose when it comes to branding. So what if their company doesn’t make it and they have to find new products and establish new strategies, failing at a personal brand has much steeper implications.

Maybe Prince took the idea of personal branding a bit too seriously

A personal brand showcases everything about a person. If I suck initially, I have to work 10 times harder to reinvent myself into something positive. However, if I hit it right on the nose, develop a solid network, and turn that network into fanatics…well then now we’re talking. Just as it is beneficial for a company to have raving fans continually talking about your products, it is great to have people willing to go to bat for you and speak well on your behalf. Throughout my job hunt I’ve been told, “it’s all about who you know, not what you know,” branding is a key and essential part of developing a network to aide the arduous search.

I’m not sure if I want to come up with a logo for myself just yet, but I feel this blog is a small method to distinguish myself from competition, and at the very least, provide a forum to communicate with people who are interested in the same things as me.


Cyber Monday = FANTASTIC

Times are tough. Supposedly everyone is struggling. Thus, we have all become deal hunters. Now, this isn’t just a result of hard times; rather, the retailers have breed some of our seek and destroy approach to shopping. I’m all for it. I enjoyed Black Friday and all the crazies it brought out [myself included] but I think I enjoyed Cyber Monday more.

Last night, while my girlfriend was shopping [in real life] I was on my iPhone shopping the Cyber Monday deals. That took a little bit of focus because walking and searching at the same time can be a dangerous prospect, but I accomplished my objective. I then proceeded to drive home, plop down on the couch, and finish my Christmas shopping. It took around an hour and a half to complete, and I only had to pay shipping for one item, and I don’t think I bought anything that wasn’t 50% discounted or more.

When I did come across something at full price, I ignored it and moved onto the next. I knew there was a comparable product, cheaper. Now, this isn’t necessarily the best thing to do from a retail stand point. You train your customers to expect deals. Although I’m not normally for this, Cyber Monday has other benefits outweighing the costs incurred by severe discounting.

It builds tradition. Similar to how McDonald’s works their Monopoly game. People have come to expect it and they revel in the tradition of the game. It rolls around every year and they participate. McDonald’s doesn’t have to do any extra marketing or even change their collateral. It brings people in and keeps them coming back.

Cyber Monday functions in the same regard and gets customers excited about spending money. They feel they are saving money, but in all reality, they still have to buy your product.


The Best Part About Thanksgiving

Today marks the beginning of the week to my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. I know I’ve already talked about it before, so I won’t get into why it’s my favorite or why I think it should be your favorite too. Rather, I’ll talk about the other reasons why the week is so fantastic as well.

The primary reason, aside from food, I love Thanksgiving week, is the shopping. There is an unparalleled amount of participation in consumerism. Whether it be Black Friday or Cyber Monday, a ridiculous amount of people–regardless of their financial situation–will be out at the crack of dawn buying god knows what. I don’t purchase a lot on Black Friday, but I love watching everyone else.

Seeing all the crazies running around Best Buy at 5 AM is worth the price of admission. However, something that gives me pause are the in store displays. Is it even worth it to have those cardboard displays up, knowing all these nuts will be just grabbing your product and running to the next sale item. Maybe, instead of doing something fancy, simplify.

Although Cyber Monday isn’t necessarily simpler, it is a way to better invest budget. People are shopping online more and more nowadays. Making concerted efforts to ensure the online demographic is taken care of is a necessity. If this segment is neglected, there is the potential for considerable losses.


Blast from the Past

Today, as I was manning my post at the front of a restaurant, I had three different people come in and try to sell me ad space. Now, if I were a manager, I would have loved to talk their ear off and really see what they had to offer; I only got to eavesdrop. There was two different types of mediums: radio and magazines. Now, I know I have been ranting a raving continuously about the future of marketing and how old, traditional methods are toast. However, hearing their pitches today–and going back to Marketing 101–I realize it would be naive to eliminate those tactics.

They have obviously worked for a very long time. People have used whatever means possible to get their word out. Whether that be hieroglyphs, pictographs, parchment, printing press, newspapers, billboards, or radio, we want others to know what we have to offer. So, why would you scrap what has worked?

I wouldn’t put all my money on one horse, and as such, I would continue to invest in some of the older techniques, as well as venturing into the unknown. Risk is a necessity of business, and without it, there would be no progress. History repeats itself, but it is smart to understand history isn’t simply cyclical. Rather, picture an ever growing positive curve, with another consistently oscillating as the former grows.

Moving forward, we as marketers must remain on the cutting edge, while not forgetting our past. That being said, I guess print, radio, and TV aren’t all that bad for getting the word out.


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