Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Purple Cow effect

The best name I ever saw for Unique Selling points, or USPs, was Purple Cows. If you really think about this metaphor, it will open your mind about the opportunities available to truly differentiate your business.

Consider the scenario. You're driving in the countryside, past field after field, seeing normal cow after normal cow, bored out of your mind and probably distracted by a hundred and one other thoughts. Then all of a sudden you see...a PURPLE COW!! All of a sudden you're alert, you're intrigued, you're not going to forget this moment in a long time, probably ever, and you're more than likely going to investigate/enquire.

This is the type of unique selling point you should have in your business. What is it you do different, that is unique enough to get people to stop, pay attention and remember what you do?

The number one task of a marketer these days is getting consumers to pay attention to your message, especially when they receive on average over a thousand different advertising messages each day. If you don't have a USP, it might be time to start considering ways to make your product stand out from the crowd, or your audience will continue to drive past bored.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Are you educated in the art of mistakes??

There's a famous story about a Marketing Executive who makes a mistake, costing his company 20 million pounds. When he asked his manager whether he was going to fire him or not, his manager replied "Why would I do that, when I've just invested 20 millions pounds in your education?"

The saying goes making mistakes isn't criminal, making them twice is. In marketing, and in business in general, it's extremely important to learn from your mistakes, and the mistakes of others, and ensure those mistakes aren't repeated.

The largest companies have made huge mistakes, but the reason they're in the position they are in is they learnt from them. If that form of market research didn't work before, don't try it again, at least not in the same way. If those customers weren't responsive to your product, find a new range of customers to target. If noone responded to advertising in that new form of technology, find a new one.

The cost of your mistakes has an incredible return on investment, so long as you learn from them.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Are you listening?? If so, are you paying attention??

How many companies out there claim to listen to their customers?

Pretty much all of them.

How many pay attention to what their customers say?

Quite a different story.

Companies claim to listen to their customers, then provide services, updates etc that are not at all in tune with what their audience is saying. With so many new forms of real time interaction that companies integrate within their marketing strategies, such as social media etc, there’s no reason why companies shouldn’t be providing services more adequate to their customers needs and desires.

What’s the point in paying money to listen if you’re not going to pay attention?

Friday, 8 October 2010

The unknown - A necessary fear

Why do businesses fear the unknown to such extents they cling to the current regardless of whether it’s practical or not? The unknown may be scary, may mean a lot of hard work and is by no means going to be successful, but it’s a lot more likely to be successful than maintaining flawed and outdated policies which may be keeping the company in the market but are by no means enabling growth or providing customers with a reason to stay.

Taking risks is an essential part of business. Your business strategy may have worked for you in the past, but if you’re not constantly reviewing and updating it, it will soon become outdated and a burden upon the companies chances of success. Keep up with technological breakthroughs, trends, changes in the social structure, laws etc to ensure that your business strategy is up to date, relevant and efficient.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Digital Marketing is the way forward…isn’t it??

Every new piece of contemporary marketing literature seems to point towards the same consensus…that digital marketing is the way forward and anyone not embracing it as the corner stone of their marketing campaigns is bound to fail. This is due to it being cheaper, interactive and easier to target towards a segmented audience, to name just a few benefits.

However, new research conducted by functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery (fMRI) scanning of brains at the University of Bangor has shown that physical direct mail, such as flyers etc, stimulates the emotional parts of the brain to a further extent than that of digital media, and as so are a more potent medium when strengthening a brand and creating brand awareness. The tangible materials allow the individuals sense of touch as well as sight to be stimulated, creating a further effect making the material seem more “real.”

For more information check out the research paper from Millward Brown

This isn't to say that digital isn't important, but it is important that Direct Mail isn't forgotten or condemned to the history books, because that will be at the detriment of brands looking to create lasting salience and relationships with their customers.

For more on Neuro Marketing check out

Monday, 4 October 2010

Getting into your audiences mind

It’s been estimated that up to 90% of purchasing decisions are made sub-consciously. That means that up to 90% of what you buy, you don’t know why you’re buying or why you’re attracted to it.

The question to marketers is how to use this information to their advantage. The answer is by creating positive associations of their brand that will resonate in the minds of their target audience and create an unknown desirability which will encourage them to act and choose your brand above your competitors.

A common experiment by neuro marketers is to create several company names and show them to a sample group, with half of the names shown with a positive word flashed before the name, so fast that the audience’s conscious mind can’t take it in, and half with negative words. What happens a considerable amount of the time is the companies with positive words are seen with positive connotations by the audience, the names with negative words negative connotations. The audience sees the companies in these ways because their sub-conscious has taken in the positive words even if their conscious mind hasn’t, so the individual doesn’t realise they have the information in their brain and doesn’t realise why they feel that particular way about the company. Imagine how strong a brand you can create if you can develop strong positive feelings in your audience that they don’t even know are there?

I’m not suggesting you put subliminal messages in your adverts, which by the way is illegal, but what you can do with strong PR, well placed and consistent adverts, positive word of mouth and a consistent brand message is create a positive reputation for your company which will stick in the sub-conscious of your audience and work to your advantage the next time they are deciding which company to purchase from.