Friday, 30 July 2010

Why do chips from a chippie taste better??

Have you ever wondered why chips from a chippie taste better than chips you’ve cooked at home? They’re cooked in exactly the same way; you put the same salt and vinegar on them and eat them the same way.

The difference is with your cognitive association of what chips from a chippie are, and your pre conception of what they’re going to taste like. What you enjoy from the chip shop is the experience because it reminds you of previous experiences by taking advantage of your sense of smell, bringing back the memories and associated joys of growing up and eating out in these locations. This is the reason, even though regulations now forbid chip shops from wrapping their chips in news paper, they use paper that creates the same smell and taste in order to continue to utilise their advantage of a distinctive smell to differentiate them from regular chips.

Whatever your company is selling, how can you take advantage of your consumer’s senses in order to create positive pre-cognitive associations which will become a differentiator between you and your competition? Estate Agents bake bread in the oven when showing potential buyers around to create a homely smell and elicit positive associations, companies play soothing music in the receptions of their offices to create a relaxing atmosphere which customers are prepared to buy in, hotels create extravagant looking receptions to their complexes so you’ll remember them and desire to return in the future.

The main aspect which makes utilising the senses such an important and subtle marketing tool is it is largely sub-conscious. Whilst if consumers take the time to consider it they will realise the effect these strategies are having on their purchasing decisions, it is a rare occasion they do. It remains largely below the surface of their conscious mind, creating a sway towards you product greater than price or any attained benefits could attain.

Look into how you can utilise any of the five senses, taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch, for your product and you will be able to differentiate yourself and create brand loyalty, desirability and recall.

Brand Consistency - What it says on the tin

   The old saying “When you try to be something to everyone you end up being nothing to no one” is very true when it comes to marketing your company. You go into the marketplace with a specific audience in mind, you create a product that’s desired or needed by this audience and then you try and sell the product to everyone, sporadically changing the style of communication, the message and the medium. All this does is create confusion, and makes every audience, including your target, unsure about what your company stands for, what you can provide them and whether you are the right company for their particular needs or whether you are too preoccupied trying to attract different audiences.

   If you look at your key audience and analytically decide what is the best way to reach them, and with which message, then this should be consistently utilised at all times in order to ensure your company is seen on the merits it can bring to the table, as well as coordinating the marketing budget in the most cost effective manner as possible. When you bring your product to market, and when you decide on what budget is required for marketing, it’s extremely important you decide on your brand message and which mediums to articulate this message through and then consistently remain with these decisions.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Are you marketing or selling?

A lot of people will answer “What’s the difference.” Whilst the two are commonly portrayed as the same concept, they are in fact major differences between the two, differences which are important to take into account when deciding your business strategy.

Sales is largely about increasing the number of consumers purchasing your product, regardless of whether it’s the right product for them or whether they’re going to buy again. Marketing starts before a product has even been created. It starts when the first research into a potential product and market is being conducted, when potential consumers are being asked what they desire. It then follows the process all the way to deciding which mediums to use to promote the product, with sales being one of these mediums, and then ensuring the customer is content with the service provided and will provide repeat custom, as well as favourable word of mouth.

Peter Drucker, the Godfather of modern marketing, stated “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” This sums the difference up perfectly. Companies whose idea of marketing is just getting someone on the phone or cold calling, without considering who they’re targeting, whether they’re using the correct medium or putting emphasis on ensuring they’re likely to want to purchase again are missing the big picture. They are in essence making the selling process unnecessarily difficult. In times of economic uncertainty, such as the current recession, a strong brand built from consistent and prevalent marketing activities over a vast time period will be the difference between companies succeeding or failing.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Selling McDonalds to Vegetarians

Whatever product or service you’re marketing, the most important thing to keep in mind is the answer to; “Who is your audience?” If you were selling high tech computers, would you aim for the over 90s market? If you were selling Lamborghinis, would you be putting your flyers up in the YMCA?

Knowing who your audience is and then finding the most cost effective method of reaching this audience is one of the key bases of marketing. Interacting with this audience allows you to determine and organize your supply and demand, as well as increasing short term sales and long term brand awareness with a participative audience. In theory if participating with a “pull” strategy you should know who your target audience is through your research before you even create whatever you’re supplying, but this is not always practical or realistic, especially in the current fast paced marketplace. But before you start selling, you should have a clear picture in your mind of who your audience is.

Demographics is the name given to the key characteristics of your audience. This includes age, income, geographic, nationality, whether they drive a car or not, even as far as which newspapers they buy. As much information as you can collect on your target audience can be used to promote your services to them. If you are selling to 20-50 year old males in a high income range, finding which newspapers they buy or radio they listen to is invaluable in targeting them with selective and relevant advertisements.

A common issue many marketers have with targeting particular audiences is they feel it alienates other audiences who are willing to purchase the product. The aim of audience segmentation is not to segregate audiences but to ensure the audience most likely to desire or need the product is made aware of its presence and then allowing viral marketing and word of mouth to carry the message to further audiences, creating brand awareness in the most cost effective manner mass marketing has to offer.

The next time you are about to launch a promotional campaign, ensure you give deep consideration to who your audience is, which are the best mediums to target them through and which message they’ll respond to.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The effectiveness of Social Media

Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc, is often seen as in the domain of the younger individuals in society, and as a medium through which only large organisation can effectively target a segmented audience with an appropriate, attractive message. Neither of these statements is true. Whatever the size of your company, be it a one man sole trader or employing hundreds of people, you can leviate social media effectively to increase brand and product awareness, interact with your audience in a two way conversation and scope the local market place for an idea of what your audience wants.

It's free, easy and not overly time consuming to create a social media page. I’m sure some of you found this blog through my Twitter page, which is an excellent way to point your audience in the direction of literature/promotions/products etc which may be relevant to them. The same is true for Facebook, MySpace, Ecademy, Linkedin, Delicious, Digg and many more.

What is important when utilising social media, as with any advertising medium, is to keep your message consistent and relevant. If you want to create resonance in your audience’s minds once they have seen your message, it’s important they associate your brand with the key brand values you want to portray, whichever they may be. If they see different messages from your company portraying the company in altering ways, it is unlikely they will associate you in whichever way you desire and so no brand loyalty will be created to be leveraged later on.