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Marketing Lies

I keep reading articles on marketing that seem to be written by aliens.

I don’t mean to be arrogant here, but why is it that the advertising and marketing community permits this constant flow of misleading information to be passed around like some mind-bending drug at a fraternity party?

I think the Harvard Professors who teach some of this tripe should have to make a company profitable for a couple of years before pontificating their ivory tower theories to MBA candidates who think these people actually know what they are talking about. Try hacking your way through one of their marketing books–you could float a balloon with the hot air.

Let me give you a recent example–one of many.

A new study of brand awareness conducted by some rather high profile market research “authorities” claimed that “Even the most effective advertising does not instantly cause customers to purchase a product.” The study goes on to promote the fact that one needs to build brand awareness before anyone will buy anything.

Excuse me????

Are they deaf? Dumb? Blind?

They have it upside down. Building brand awareness is an important and laudable strategic goal, but it is not the basic purpose of marketing or advertising. The reason one advertises, the reason one engages in marketing at all is to create reach for a product or service and sell it… NOW. If you bag the prospect later, good for you, but if you the have idea that advertising, “Even the most effective advertising”, is not capable of creating an immediate sale, good luck making payroll this month.

The sale itself creates brand awareness, usually the best kind. The product is now out in the environment, and if it’s worth a damn, the purchaser will talk about it. Brand promotion doesn’t get any better that.

This ground-breaking study is nothing more than a sophisticated excuse for campaigns that don’t produce response.

A good ad can easily create an immediate impulse to buy. Indeed, it should do just that.

My wife recently received a direct mail solicitation for a new on line service (she’d never heard of). She logged on, checked it out and signed up.

An ad for a brand new web-based publication landed in a close friend’s email box. He read a sample copy and subscribed.

Good ads–good marketing pieces that have surveyed messages–attract attention, get a message across and create a reach for the product. If your copy writers and creative people simply assume they know what motivates your prospects to buy, you will get haphazard results.

You sell fitness equipment. You’ve got a new treadmill. You survey your target market and find out that 65% of them think the biggest benefit to owning a treadmill is the ability “to lose weight and inches around the middle”. You build a campaign around this attribute.

Across town, senior management at the competition knows that using a treadmill “improves cardiovascular fitness” and thinks that is why people should buy one. Their campaign pushes this “Button”.

Whose campaign gets a better response?

I know its rhetorical, I’m trying to paint a simple picture here–this isn’t rocket science. Properly surveyed promotional material will parallel the mind of your public and generate response. It is the job of sales to channel that reach into a sale–RIGHT NOW.

Did I mention that is what we do, survey prospects about what it is they think is valuable about a particular product? It may have slipped my mind.

You can find out more about what we do and the results our clients get by giving us a call or checking out our website – details below.

Let me end with a piece of good news on the marketing front. Online marketing newsletter Iconocast reports:

“While retail sales worldwide have taken a hit, the latest data from a Nielsen//NetRatings and Harris Interactive study of 36,000 online users shows e-commerce sales grew 54% in September compared with a year earlier.”