Playing the Marketing game the smart way

A good marketing campaign is like playing chess against the whole world. If you’re in it to win it, you have to think at least 3 moves ahead. So why is it that some companies keep on wanting to play on the whole board? We all strive to get brands noticed on the market, but I believe genius ideas are born in simplicity.

I’ll give you an example. If you’re familiar with the UK market you will know who Innocent is. A couple of guys had the idea to create natural, vitamin pumped smoothies and juices to be enjoyed by everyone. And instead of giving loads of money on extensive market research and analysis, they went to their potential consumers and conducted the simplest form of a taste test at a music festival way back in 1999. Essentially they asked the question: ‘Do you like our smoothies or not?’ If yes, people had to put the empty cup in the ‘YES’ bin and vice versa, of no was the answer they had to put it into the ‘NO’ bin.  And that was the breaking point for these two fellows to decide to quit their jobs and get to cracking. Now why was this move genius?

  1. The brand is 100% relatable. It has a great story behind it that people can appreciate. It’s staying away from the cold corporate image and striving towards your ‘next door buddy’ kind of vision. Simple, relatable, efficient.
  2. They went straight to their clients. No fuss, no big charts with market shares, projected data, etc. No big budget to get that wow factor. They spoke a language their potential consumer would understand and want to listen to. Hey, we’re one of you guys, what do you think of this smoothie? And voila! The magic was born.

The moral of Innocent’s story is that to get your brand where it needs to be, it’s not always about how complex your marketing strategy is or how many communication channels you’re gonna hit to toot your own horn. A brand always starts with the consumer. The era of push marketing has been dead for a while now. It’s all about valuable interactions with your customers and letting them pull the chain. And that’s why you have to choose your battles carefully. As the wise CEO of a very successful marketing communications agency in Israel once told me: ,You can’t be everywhere! You don’t have the time and you don’t have the resources!’

So my advice to you would be to figure out who your consumer is first. Figure out where they live both online and offline, what their habits are, what their needs are and most importantly, what kind of problem your product/ service can solve for them. Only then is it appropriate to discuss a communications strategy and channels. Don’t only play chess, but learn to play it the smart way. That’s how you stay at least 3 moves ahead. Simplicity is the new trend and my friends, it’s here to stay!

 

Till next time,

 xo

Teddy T

Is organic chocolate the new hype in hedonic eating?

green and blacks organic

I’ve recently had the pleasure of working for the most delicious brand portfolio, not only in the UK, but dare I say it – Europe. Green & Black’s is an organic and fair-trade chocolate that has been around for more than 20 years. Being the first organic and fair-trade product in the UK would most definitely guarantee the brand a phenomenal market share, right? Wrong!

See, Green & Black’s, among other organic ready-made products on the market, put all their money in advertising exactly what they are – organic. All that, under the assumption that the British consumer cares about eating healthier, better quality products. Although that may be true in the case of organic fresh produce, where people more easily associate their lettuce, tomatoes or carrots with the notion of ‘healthier food’, was that the case for organic chocolate? This is precisely why Green & Black’s hired me – to find what the British Consumer associates with the word ‘organic’ in the current economic environment (post-recession) and how the brand can use that knowledge to re-position itself to a younger audience.

After shadowing company executives and senior-level managers for a while, I was ready to conduct my own research on the matter. I interviewed 19 individuals that fitted the narrow demographic and psychographic profile of the desired ‘new consumer’ and a very interesting picture started assembling. I will try to shortly paint it for you, as I do believe it accurately represents an idea of the modern organic consumer in the UK:

Demographic profile:

  •  Mainly female, middle age, with children or a significant other. Reasoning: This individual is the decision maker in the household, especially when it comes to food-related products.
  • Mid to high annual income and well educated (university and above). Reasoning: ‘Organic’ remains largely considered as a premium good and is often associated with higher than average pricing.

Psychographic Profile:

  • Adventurous, likes to try out new things. Reasoning: ‘Organic’ is still seen as an ‘avant-garde’ food alternative, where one has to get out of their established purchasing routines in order to consider consuming.
  • Is moderately susceptible to peer pressure. Reasoning: This consumer is willing to change their shopping habits if a friend recommends a product, but they have to personally believe that product will prove to be better than what they currently consume.

Now, all previously mentioned consumer profiling has to do with general organic purchases, where that consumer sees ‘organic’ as a healthier, free of chemicals food option, but often associated only to fresh produce. In order to unlock their potential regarding organic packaged food purchasing and specifically the brand I was representing, I had to dig a little deeper.  So I had to see how and why the average UK consumer eats chocolate. Previous conducted research, internal company documents, own findings and all that mambo jambo led to a ridiculously simple conclusion: People eat chocolate because it tastes good.  EUREKA! So where did the ‘organic’ part belong in that message?

Simple, yet genius. Women like to eat chocolate → they eat it, because it tastes good and it makes them feel good → they often justify buying chocolate, because they ‘deserve’ to treat themselves to it. Chocolate, therefore, is a purely hedonistic product and is meant to be enjoyed as such. However, after consuming it, there comes the guilt – why did I eat so much of it, this will make me fat, it’s unhealthy, etc. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been on that road. But if that chocolate is ‘organic’, that’s a different story. The post-consumption guilt is now eliminated.  Therefore, the reasoning is as follows: This is great-tasting chocolate, I deserve that chocolate + it’s organic, therefore it’s better for me and I should not feel guilty for buying and consuming it.

new campagin greem & blacks

* part of Green & Black’s new 2013 ‘This is not a chocolate bar’ advertising campaign  focusing on taste attributes

Sounds almost devious of us marketers to formulate such a message, doesn’t it? However, people will continue to buy chocolate and continue to feel guilty about it afterwards. Why not help them get rid of that guilt and actually treat them to a great quality chocolate made with nothing but fresh, organic ingredients? By simply re-focusing on taste attributes, rather than organic attributes, Green & Black’s was able to speak to that hedonistic hunger in every consumer and to toot their own horn with superior tasting chocolate. And I should know! When my consultancy work was done with, they sent me a box full of that stuff. The little girl within me was overwhelmed with joy, and no, I don’t regret eating every single one of them!

Till next time,

xo

Teddy T

Marketing the ‘Magic Pill’ – A consumer’s perspective

The Magic Pill

As I’ve embarked on the ever-so-challenging journey of weight loss, I’ve become more and more aware of diverse advertising efforts of different types of slim gimmicks (as I’ve fondly named them) on the market. I am talking about all the supplements, shakes & diet pills out there, competing for your attention with promises of fast results with little to no effort. Naturally, as a marketer, my interest was piqued.

I found myself asking these questions:

1. How does one market such ‘miracle helpers’ to the common consumer?

2. What role do they actually play in a person’s path towards a healthier being?

Let’s take diet pills for example. The average consumer of diet pills, according to an official report of the US Federal Trade Commission in 2002, is, or perceives himself to be, overweight, leads a semi-static way of life and has in almost all cases previously attempted (and/or failed at) weight-loss. The report also states that there has been a significant continuous rise in multi-media advertising campaigns for weight-loss solutions in the last 20 years or so. This means that an average consumer is likely to be exposed to such advertising on a daily basis and is more likely to buy it, thus turning ‘magic pills’ into a multi-billion dollar industry.

But what types of messages does that industry use to draw us in?

In most cases, false or unethically reported product results are used to promote extreme weight loss attributed entirely to the pill. However, in the fine print of most pills I’ve found on the market, it also states that product experiments have been conducted in accordance with a balanced nutritional diet and regular exercise. Naturally, a person is left under the impression that the pill does all the work, which might not be the case. Customer testimonials, on the other hand, deploy a different tactic of consumer-to-consumer communication, creating the sense of trust in the product, building around the old idea of peer pressure marketing. In most circumstances however, these come in the form of a copy-paste template blog of the ‘amazing transformation’ of a specific individual, frequently developed by the company producing the pills. After all of this mesh of advertising push, it’s as if we are almost instantly conditioned to associate diet pills with great results and the vision of a slimmer self. Now, I don’t mean to discredit all products on the market, but I do believe the hype around them has in a sense been artificially built.

What do diet pills actually provide consumers with?

With all that in mind, I believe diet pills do the exact job they are designed for – they provide a sense of security and an additional motivational mechanism in a person’s journey for weight loss. I personally am taking a certain brand of slim aids, but I do so to compliment my already established nutritional regime and exercise routine. For me, the pill provides the notion of direction and the desire to carry on with this endeavor. The effect might be purely psychological, and I am ready to acknowledge it as such, because it serves the purpose of continuously motivating me to go forward.

So for anybody out there who is trying their best to better their health and well-being by losing weight please keep in mind that we, the big bad marketers, will always try to lure you in with promises of incredible product features and fast results. Beware of how much you decide to rely on a pill to assist in your situation. If it is used in the right way, a diet pill or supplement may give you (psychologically and physically) that little extra push you need to start your journey. The decision should be yours and yours only.

xo,

Teddy T

The Death of TV advertising. Generation Y consumers say: Hello digital world!

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As a prime example of the species ‘cynical consumericus’, or more generally known as Generation Y, I am here to tell you that mass media marketing is dead to me. A snarky and bold statement, but it is after all in my nature as a young consumer to be a critical know-it-all. So why do I dare declare centuries-old communication modes, such as the TV and the newspaper to be relics?

Quite simple: I am a mid-twenties European, who was practically breastfed with technology. From the age of five I could go online, chat on social platforms and/or write product reviews. I haven’t stepped in an actual library since Bill Clinton’s presidency. If I’m outside enjoying nature, I’ll stop every five minutes to take a picture, Instagram it, then Facebook it and add it to Pinterest. I interact with friends not through phone calls and dates, but through Google Hangouts. And worst of all, I share content and measure my social popularity through the number of ‘likes’ I receive. We, the 20-somethings, may be a narcissistic bunch, but we are a well interconnected one.  Which is why I dare say conventional marketing cannot get through to us. We don’t watch TV, we watch Hulu. We are not going to read a newspaper, we’ll open our RSS feeds and e-mail subscriptions and get the targeted news we want. We find comfort in the digital sphere and we’ve left our virtual prints all over the ‘interweb’.

I am a part of a community of sarcastic, digitally connected individuals, who have learned to tune out traditional advertising noise. The good news for marketers everywhere however, is that this same digitally narcissistic behavior of ours is also going to drive us to share our brand preferences with all of our friends out there. My opinions matter to my peers (and vice versa) more than a TV ad ever would. I won’t be impressed if you shove a billboard in my face, but if you are interacting with your fans digitally, that’s another story.

So dear Marketers, the key to snatching us up as consumers is through simply showing you value us as more than a dollar sign. We are co-creators of your brands and could be the best brand ambassadors you could ever ask for. All you need to do is to gently caress our online egos through customized consumer-led marketing strategies. Recreate one-on-one brand discussions, show us you hear our voices and this is how you will win our long-term loyalty. And if you manage to do so, we will follow your brand till the end of the world and back, guaranteed.

xo,

Teddy T