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The Mall of America offers marketing insight

September 17, 2006

I brought my daughter and one of her best friends up to Minneapolis and the Mall of America.  I know, I know.  I keep telling you — I am dumber than I look!

Penny_press_home_2

For those of you who have not visited the nation’s largest mall, it has an amusement park of sorts right in the middle.  So while the girls were in line to go on a contraption designed to lodge their stomach in their throats, I was doing one of my favorite things, observing life as it meandered by. 

I found a bench where I could see the girls and do some people watching.  The bench happened to be right next to one of those "smash a penny" and imbed some picture on it for a souvenir.  I glanced and noticed that the penny memento would cost you 51 cents.  I shook my head, thinking they probably never have to empty out the cash box on that machine.  Who in the world would spend 50 cents to mutilate a penny, only to toss it into their underwear drawer when they got home?

I sat there for about 15 minutes.  In that span of time, 5 different sets of people gleefully got their penny souvenirs.  Shows you what I know!

What a great marketing reminder.  Just because we do or don’t like something does not mean our target audience feels the same way.  We must resist putting ourselves into the potential customers’ shoes.  Or, we can imagine that everyone is just like us AND accept the fact that we’re going to miss out on selling a lot of pennies!

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Sex or money?

September 15, 2006

Depending on the specifics, both can be pretty motivating, can’t they?

Actually, sex and money are two of the eight key benefits that trigger us to buy something.  Heck, they trigger us to buy just about everything.  Want to know the other six?

Drew’s Eight Emotional Buying Triggers

1. Time/convenience

2. Money

3. Recovering something lost (like your youth)

4. Sex

5. Knowledge/self improvement

6. Security/safety

7. Comfort

8. Care of loved ones

Marketers love to list features.  That’s because they are too lazy or too egocentric and can’t stop thinking from their own point of view.  When a marketer is smart and thinks from the buyers’ shoes, they talk benefits.  Help your customers achieve one of the above motivators and you have a sale.

Want to read more about the subject of emotional buying?  Check out Daniel Goleman’s "Working With Emotional Intelligence."  It’s a fascinating read.

Don’t make your potential customers figure it out for themselves.  Whether you are offering them an hour to spend with their kids, sex appeal, or an extra $20 in their pocket — tell them!

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Beware of the duh factor

September 2, 2006

I recently saw an ad with the tagline "the difference is our people!"  It doesn’t matter what business it was for because many businesses claim this as their unique point of difference.  No offense to all of the businesses that think this is what makes them stand out from their competition — but duh. Everyone claims that they have great peopler, ergo great customer service. And the truth is…most of them do.  To break through the marketingplace, we need to be about more than good customer service.

Why?  Don’t people want good service.  Sure.  But they also expect it.  It’s a duh.  A given.  If you don’t provide good customer service, you’re not going to keep their business.  Don’t you think most businesses are hustling to serve their customer?  That’s not a brand — it is a cost of doing business.  An expectation.

Another popular duh is competency.  Companies will tout their expertise as though their competitors are completely incompetent.  The reality is that’s just not true.  To create marketing materials or ads that claim "we’re good at what we do" is a waste of resources. Again, your consumer assumes you’re qualified to do your job.  If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be even under consideration. Skill-level or competency is a show me message, not a tell me.  It’s a little like honesty. If someone has to keep telling you that they’re honest, pretty soon you wonder why they are making such a big deal about it.

So why do companies rely on "duh" level taglines or promises?  Because it’s easy. It doesn’t require digging deeper to find out what really does set them apart from their competition.  Double-check yourself. Are you taking the easy way out and making a duh promise?

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Welcome!

September 1, 2006

Welcome to the blog of Drew McLellan, author of 99.3 Random Acts of Marketing and owner of McLellan Marketing Group, where strategy and passion collide!

My goals for this blog are simple — to have a dialogue.  To share my thoughts and expertise.  And to learn from yours.  I’m open to using this forum to answer questions, to explore possibilities or just to rant a little!

I hope you’ll come back often.  Invite your friends.  Make a few new ones here.

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