Saturday, 30 May 2009

Brand = information shortcut

You have probably seen all those presentations about 'what is a brand?'. They told us that the brand is a set of values over and above the product, that brands live inside the head of customers and so on. In some ways i saw it as an information short cut. I'll explain. If you trusted a brand you could buy it or from it in the safe knowledge that it would be OK, you would not being making [too big] a mistake. Essentially we did not have time as consumers to do all that research to evaluate every product, to work out what is best. So the brand communicated something about the product qualities.

But the weird thing is it is still an information short cut. Because there is too much information out there, we cant be bothered to do all that research so we opt for a brand we trust.

30 years ago we couldn't possibly do all the research we should to be 'rational' consumers
Now we have the information available and we cant always be bothered. We haven't got time.

Of course if you are spending lots of money or buying your favourite toy we will research it, but brands still matter. They still communicate but just in different ways.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The end of awareness

Why do we still measure awareness? I suppose it allows us to justify the media schedule but some brands still treat it as the key measure. We have measured it historically because it was the easiest thing to measure and the measure most likely to shift. So that gave us a warm feeling.

However we should be more focused on things like ... Do you find this brand interesting, or different or appealing. Do you prefer it? Nothing else really matters - apart from whether they buy it or not.

I recognise this means it is even harder to separate the impact of the advertising and communications from the product or brand experience but unfortunately that is tough. It definitely doesn't work that way any more, assuming it ever did. I can think a brand is the coolest thing in the thing in the world but if 16 out of 37 reviews say it is crap i am not going to buy it.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Re-connecting the marketing funnel

It's B2B again.

What exactly is a quality lead, our clients always talk about them but rarely does it get defined. The sales perspective is something like a prospect who invites them to tender. But this is not perfect, the likes of IBM, HP, Vauxhall will more often than not be on the shortlist as part of a benchmarking exercise. Marketing would probably define a lead as anyone who has engaged with the organisation, either via an event or on line.

Clearly there is a disconnect and explains why sales often complain about marketing, sales understandably want easy sales.

We could 'settle' the argument is by linking the marketing database to the website to ad serving data and other on line marketing activity. Easier said than done. But in the meantime if anyone has a better definition or two of leads (that marketing and sales agree on) i would love to hear about it.

Friday, 8 May 2009

B2B - it is a very small market

Just read a report by BERR (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) on SMEs (small medium enterprises) in the UK.

Here are some headline stats

1. 99.9% of businesses are SMEs (under 250 employees)

2. Of 4.68m private sector enterprises in the UK, 3.6m don't have any employees and are probably shells.

3. There are less than 27,000 companies with more than 50 employees.

4. 50% of SMEs with 50 to 250 employees are family owned

You cant help but think there is a lot of sophisticated marketing chasing very few prospects of either value or readiness to buy, especially in terms of IT. So if someone like Avaya or HP know which sectors they are after they should go the extra inch and get on first name terms with their best prospects or perhaps invite them round for dinner. Big campaigns are just for the benefit of sales teams, providing a bit of momentum.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Marketing rule 1a

Two posts ago (10th April) i wrote that you only need one marketing rule, be interesting. Well it is two weeks on and i want to add another one. I am trying to stretch it so it is part of rule, rule 1a?

Rule 1a is 'Be where they are'.

You have probably used this in every pitch involving digital so it is not original but it highlights the importance of media context as well as the opportunity to exploit search, social media and digital influence. It is pretty difficult to argue with rule 1a when we see how much consumers rely on search and peer opinion when purchasing anything more sophisticated than toilet duck. You regularly see figures like 90% plus using search before making a purchase on or off line. Last week i researched trainers, found out about over and underpronation (exactly), went to the store, happened to remember the brand and product; Brooks, Adrenaline. Then bought them up. Unfortunately for the marketing manager at Brooks they couldn't track this.

So the only marketing rules you need are :-

1. Be interesting
1a. Be where they are

I wont be adding any more rules in the forseeable future.

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Just curious about marketing, psychology, economics, business, irrational behaviour, people, models, communications, advertising, market imperfections, b2b marketing. I work in the marketing communications industry for OgilvyOne.