I pick up the latest edition of Marketing News, a publication of the American Marketing Association, and right on the cover is good old Kansas. The cover story is an interesting read about the Kansas Department of Travel and Tourism and their collaboration with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Working with marketing consultants, the two groups were able to break down their silos and share information. The results were a larger and more targeted group of travelers to communicate with. Kansas is now selling their tourist offerings in a cost effective way. Perhaps more importantly, the state is selling its actual unique offerings, not trying to be like every other state.
The Kansas connection did not stop there. Elsewhere in the issue, there is a table of Nielsen data showing the top ten brands with TV product placement during the week of March 24-30. Ranking #7 on the list with 32 occurrences is none other than Kansas State University. They rate behind the likes of mega brands Coca-Cola and CBGB, and ahead of a little company you may have heard of...Nike. They are also ahead of the University of Southern California and the University of Texas. If only this translated to the AP ranking in football! Topping the list is 24 Hour Fitness.
Both of these stories make a Kansas-based marketer like myself proud.
Back in April, AdFreak featured a post on a Harris Poll that found 56% of adults were opposed to abolishing the penny. AdFreak noted that this type of loyalty would make some brand manager s envious.
This is really interesting. You can buy nothing for a penny (in fact, to buy something it costs $10). They tend to fill up ashtrays and piggy banks, and in my house are always picked through to find “the silver stuff.” If you see a penny on the street, you might think twice about exerting the effort to pick it up. So why the outpouring of penny love? Perhaps a bunch of Abraham Lincoln fans?
Regardless of why, I think it is interesting that this information remained unknown until people where faced with a life without the penny. Think of your company, product or service. Has it become as ubiquitous as the penny? Do people take it for granted? Probably. We have short memories.
Maybe your marketing message should remind people what life would be like without your product. Don’t do it in a threatening manner, but more informational or humorous. You might be surprised by the amount of loyalty that bubbles up.
photo courtesy of Flickr user Dystopos
So as marketers, can we do this? Can you tell the story of your brand in six words or less? We should be able to. Try it. Try doing it for other companies (For Starbucks: “Premium coffee at your second home.”). This sort of exercise helps us create more compelling and memorable marketing messages. And it simplifies communication with our customers.
What he did do was bring us marketers down a notch by not pulling punches when railing against ineffective, traditional methods that sidestep the changing reality of the consumer experience. The three things I took away from his brief address:
1) Do deeper research into your target market. This means going beyond the demographic and typical psychographics. Find out what they are exposed to. What are they reading? Watching? Talking about? Making fun of? Rebelling against? Why are they not choosing you?
My goal: Take steps to improve in all three of these areas.