Click here to see Tom on
with Dr. John O'Keefe
Endless Dreams Publishing
Dana Point, CA 92629
Of the eight slogans listed above, what is the common denominator.
a) All are commercial products;
b) All are manufactured by successful corporations;
c) Each product promotes “ONE” benefit;
d) All of the above.
Technically, d) All of the above is the correct answer, but for the sake of this blog, which is about marketing, I’d like to focus on c) Each product promotes “ONE” benefit.
To stress how important “ONE” benefit can be when promoting your product or service versus a number of benefits, let’s add a couple more to Crest Toothpaste’s and Disneyland’s list.
Sure, toothpaste buyers want fresh breath, a bright smile, and a variety of flavors, but obviously the powers that be did some research and found that their target audience is more concerned with preventing cavities.
Now it’s Disneyland’s turn.
It’s true. Disneyland is all of the above. It’s fun for people of all ages and it doesn’t hurt that Mickey Mouse lives there. However, it can be better summed up by saying Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth.
What if Crest or Disneyland, or any of the products mentioned at the beginning of this blog, promoted more than one benefit? Well, what would happen is that their message would get confusing and hard for their respective target audiences to zoom in on.
“ONE” benefit sticks in your head better. When you’re trying to decide which toothpaste is best for your family, “Crest Prevents Cavities” comes to mind. If you want your child’s face to light up, tell them you’re taking them to Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
With all of the messages we are inundated with on a daily basis; from listening to the radio on our way to work, to the Internet, and watching television before we turn in at night, there is good reason for creating “ONE” unique benefit that your target audience can associate with your product or service.
So ask yourself, “What does your business stand for? What is the purpose of your business? Are you just selling stuff or are you trying to solve your clients’ needs? Keep in mind that you must have a clear purpose before you can make the world a better place.
Lastly, what do you want to be known for? The answer to this question, whatever it may be, should be the “ONE” benefit you want to promote consistently about your business.
4/27/13: Socrates @ Starbucks #5
THE POWER OF "LIKE"
“YOU LIKE ME, YOU REALLY LIKE ME!"
Who can forget those infamous words attributed to Sally Field in her 1984 acceptance speech for her second Oscar for “Places in the Heart.”
Field was actually quoted incorrectly by the media. What she did mention was a line from the movie in which she won her first Oscar, Norma Rae, “…I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now you like me.” But that erroneously quoted, albeit catchy phrase, has been “liked” so much, it’s still being used in the media and by society 29 years later.
Let’s be honest, everyone wants to be liked; from the time you enter elementary school and want to be friends with the “popular” kids, to running for political office where likes can turn into votes. But now with Internet access on almost every doorstep in America, being liked is vital to small business owners.
Back in 1984, the average driving distance that customers would travel to frequent a business was approximately 30 to 60 miles. Oh, how that has changed with the introduction of the Internet. Today, the world is at your fingertips. However, with the good comes the bad. The expansion of said potential customers means an influx of competition.
Like I said last week, one way to overcome the onslaught of competing businesses is to take into consideration the “Who Cares?” factor. In other words, know your specific target audience and stand out from the crowd!
And what better way to increase awareness for your business than with Facebook’s “LIKE” Button. That seemingly harmless little blue and white button has the power to propel your product or service into cyberspace in the flutter of an eyelash.
One way to accumulate more potential customers on Facebook is to create a second page aside from your personal profile; your business page. Then you can design a ‘Welcome’ page, where new ‘fans’ have to “LIKE” you to see your wall. Once someone “LIKES” you, it is seen on each of their friends’ Facebook wall with a link back to your website or Facebook page.
Now I realize to some, this sounds confusing or maybe even a waste of time, but to inspire you, let’s do the math for a nine-day period.
In response to these phenomenal numbers, I would like to proclaim that this coming Monday and every week going forward be:
“YOU REALLY “LIKE” ME MONDAY”
This coming Monday I will “LIKE” five websites, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages of people with whom I have networked.
If everyone who reads my blog follows suit and “LIKES” me or any five of their friends or colleagues, and we're lucky enough that it creates a domino effect, think how much exposure we could all get in a short nine days.
Socrates would probably ask, “What are you waiting for?”
4/20/2013: Socrates @ Starbucks #4
THE MEDIUM IS NOT THE MESSAGE
In 1967, Marshall McLuhan published a book entitled, “The Medium is the Message.” (You can see Marshall’s full interview on YouTube—“Marshall McLuhan Full Lecture: The Medium is the Message”)
McLuhan’s thesis was that the importance of your individual message was less important than the significance of the medium itself. In other words, a message (commercial) carried in a National Television Campaign was different (cool vs. hot) and more significant than a message carried in a local newspaper.
In today’s media environment this wisdom is no longer quite as true. Look at the famous YouTube video where Mitt Romney talks about “the 47% who were dependent upon the government.” That message turned out to be extremely important, (some people even said it decided the election), yet no money was ever spent on television to carry this message. The power of that message was conveyed primarily through YouTube.
Nowadays, it doesn’t really matter where your message appears. It could be in an email, a blog, on YouTube, Facebook or Network TV. What matters is what kind of traction will your message have? Will it spread? Does anyone care about what you said or wrote?
The single biggest obstacle that a marketer has to overcome is the “Who cares?” factor. The reality is that we are all bombarded with messages from the time we get up and check our email in the morning until we fall asleep at night.
Remember the excitement years ago when AOL would proudly announce, “You’ve got mail.” It was so popular, they even made a movie around it with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Today, our highest priority when we sit down to look at our email is to DELETE as many as possible. There is no longer that same level of excitement in the phrase, “You’ve got mail.”
So how do you get someone to care about your message?
The answer is to make people care about things that affect them personally. If you have a son or daughter who is gay, you suddenly care about equal rights and same sex marriage. If you had a spouse or a child who was killed by someone with an assault rifle, you care about limiting the access to guns.
As I say in my marketing seminars, the best indication of what people value and care about is to watch that person’s behavior. Pay attention to what they do. Not to what they say.
If you see someone go into Starbucks and willingly pay $4 for a cup of coffee, you know more about that person by just observing, then by asking them what they think about coffee.
Similar to SPAM, which is any message that is not relevant or important to me RIGHT NOW, it is not enough to have a weak message propped up by the aura of Network TV. In today’s world, the message is way more important than the medium.
The message “Got Milk?” was extremely more relevant than the media it ran in, because it was based upon a simple truth we can all relate to: The only time we think about milk is when we DON’T HAVE IT. The same is true for the air in our tires.
Some of the things McLuhan said 46 years ago still hold true, however. He said that a “successful message must make the audience unsettled.” I think what he meant was, that in order to get someone’s attention you need to “provoke them.” You need to get someone to THINK about something in a new way or to make them FEEL something unexpected.
I like to tell people who are making presentations to large audiences, “the goal is to make them think; make them laugh; and make them cry.” If you can do that, you can be pretty sure you have a good message, no matter what the medium is.
4/15/13: Socrates @ Starbucks #3
IF MARKETING WITHOUT MONEY
IS SO POWERFUL, ARE ADVERTISER
WASTING THEIR MONEY?
Answer: No, not necessarily.
As the Beatles sang, “Money can’t buy me love.” But it can buy AWARENESS. If you put an ad on the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards, you can be pretty sure that it will increase awareness for your product or service.
When I ran the Nissan Motors account at Chiat/Day Advertising in Los Angeles, we spent about $100 million to introduce a new Nissan model, the Altima or Maxima. Statistics showed that our budget would translate into about 70-80% awareness among the television target (Adults 18-34). Even though we couldn’t know with much accuracy, how many sales would result from this advertising, we were pretty sure that most people were aware of our new product.
If a business doesn’t have an advertising budget, they must substitute ideas and hard work for money to create awareness. They have to come up with clever ways to get other people to talk about their product or service by obtaining publicity or using social media, etc.
Getting awareness, in and of itself is not that difficult. If you do something bad (rob a bank or get caught having an affair) you’re likely to get free publicity and awareness.
As I tell my SCORE clients, it is important to “be known.” But what you are “known for” is even more important. As I remind people, both Santa Claus and Hitler are well-known. Another example, Lance Armstrong, used to be known for his victories in the Tour de France. Now he is well known for taking performance drugs.
So before you spend a bunch of time and energy trying to generate awareness, take a moment to figure out “What do you want to be known for?” What does your business represent? Does it stand for low prices or great service? Does it stand for poor quality and shoddy workmanship or for quality and reliability?
What your business stands for is not an abstraction. It is not just what you tell people. What your business stands for is manifested in the way your company behaves. Just as with people, if you want to be known as an honest and generous person, like Santa Claus, you need to behave in an honest and generous way.
If your company wants to stand for superior customer service, you have to hire enough good people to deliver this service. We all know how irritating it is when companies tell us over the phone, “your business is very important to us,” yet they keep us on hold for 20 minutes while we listen to elevator music.
Bottom line: Money can definitely buy awareness. It can also buy a predictability that your message will actually run. But all the money in the world cannot guarantee business success, as we were reminded during the “dot com” mania, where businesses flushed huge amounts of cash down the toilet in an effort to achieve “Awareness” and “First Position Dominance.”
So keep in mind. Sometimes it is better to have a sharper nail than a bigger hammer.
4/06/13: Socrates @ Starbucks #2
WHY IS A STRIP CLUB
THAN A NUDIST CAMP?
Did you ever think about why men will pay money
to go to a strip club, but not a nudist camp?
Or why would a woman be more attracted
to Chippendales than a men's locker room?
Believe it or not, the answers to these questions are very important when we try to understand how to generate publicity for our business, a new product or service.
The most difficult question we have to answer initially in marketing communication is a simple two-word sentence: "Who Cares?"
- I just published a new book.
- I just introduced a new product.
- My business just received an award for "Quality Service."
As a marketer, your first job is to answer the following two questions:
1) Who cares?
2) Why should they care?
"Who cares?" is another way of asking, "Who is the most likely prospect to buy your product or service?" In other words, "Who is your target audience?"
The target audience for getting publicity includes journalists, writers, reporters, bloggers, and others who can spread your message to a wider and larger audience.
Once your audience is partially identified, you must dig deeper:
1) What journalist or reporter would care about my story?
2) What information can I provide that would help them to care?
There is also an additional element in generating publicity; your story has to be relevant, interesting, and attractive.
People and products that are "attractive" naturally garner attention and interest. If you are really attractive, you do not need to push yourself on others. Instead, you may need to restrict access to your private world.
Part of the reason Steve Jobs generated so much publicity for his new product launches was that there was SUSPENSE and MYSTERY involved. What new features will it have? Will it really do that? Every new product Apple introduces, generates lots of debate, intrigue, and suspense.
In other words, it was more like a "strip tease" than a "nudist colony."
Now, compare Apple's example to the normal concept of putting out a press release. Where is the mystery, the suspense, and the intrigue in your press release? Without these elements, your story will have NO INTEREST, which means that no journalist, reporter, or blogger will have any reason to care, write about, or report your story.
So, my advice to you when you're ready to generate publicity about your latest product or service is, "Try to be more like a strip club than a nudist colony."
Socrates would understand this philosophy.
3/31/13: Socrates @ Starbucks #1
WHAT WOULD SOCRATES DO?
We have all seen the bumper sticker that asks,
What Would Jesus Do?”
The question I more frequently ask is,
“What would Socrates do?”
Socrates was a teacher in Athens, Greece in the 4th century, BC, who worked without pay. He taught his students “The Socratic Method” by continually asking them to dig deeper and answer more precise and difficult questions such as “What is the purpose of life?” and “What does virtue mean?”
In 2002, after a 21-year career at one of the most creative advertising agencies in the country, Chiat/Day Advertising, located in Venice, California, I retired as President and returned home to Orange County. Working with big-budget clients such as Nike, Pizza Hut, and Nissan Motors, I helped build the agency's annual revenue from $30 million to $100 million.
Now, in 2013, and for the past 10+ years, rather than be immersed in the large corporate world of yore, I have been volunteering for the national non-profit organization, SCORE, in which approximately 100 successful retired business executives, like myself, "give back" by sharing their expertise with small business owners who have few resources and little-to-zero marketing budgets.
As a member of SCORE, Orange County Chapter 114, one of the more than 300 chapters around the country, I can be found three days a week in my "office," "mentoring" or "free counseling" via pre-arranged appointments at the Starbucks in the Monarch Bay Shopping Center overlooking the house my parents bought across PCH in 1966.
On a weekly basis, I see all kinds of people. Some of them really don't have a cllue about the difficulties of starting and running a business, and others have been established for many years, but just want advice on how to help their business grow.
Using the Socratic Method, I try to help small business owners figure out who their target audience is by asking a lot of tough questions such as, "Who is the most likely person to buy your product or service?" and "What can you do to increase the value equation for your product or service?"
Although I don't get a paycheck anymore, every once in a while a nice bonus comes my way when one of my clients tells me about their success. Some of my clients have actually doubled and tripled their businesses, which really makes it all worthwhile.
I don't succeed with all of my clients, but hopefully, I will not face the same face as Socrates, who died when was forced to drink hemlock, because he was accused of "corrupting the youth."