Personally speaking…

Understanding how to reach your market is the driving point of marketer’s mission, and with that in mind, I wanted to take a look at what type of outreach works for me personally, and what doesn’t work.

I always check my mailbox daily, but I get a great deal of direct mail (aka spam mail) in my inbox. Normally, all of this spam gets thrown out, but I occasionally I do find something good in the mail. The interesting thing about when I find something that I like is that I hardly ever follow through on it, even if it’s a free offer of some sort. Therefore, direct mail, for me, does not work very effectively.

Another type of outreach that I do not find very effective is email outreach. I have, on occasion, acted upon emails as a call to action, but again, it is not an effective medium to get me to do something.

Interestingly enough, television and internet advertisements do grasp my attention – maybe because when I encounter these ads I am in a more passive, more accepting state.

What do you think? Leave me a comment and let’s talk about it!

A buffet of value

Reno, Nevada, is a wonderful place full of a mix of outdoor activities, gambling, and casinos, and one of the interesting phenomena that Reno citizens have access to (that many other places do not) are all-you-can-eat buffets.

If you have never been to an all-you-can-eat buffet and were standing in line for the first time, you might notice something interesting about a great deal of the other people in line – their age. Now, I am not saying I have done a study on the demographics of buffet lines, but there is definitely a higher density of baby boomers in the line – more than any other age group. As a younger guy, I can do some damage to the buffet just in food quantity, and I always get my money’s worth when I visit a buffet for that reason, but what about the older people?

I am not saying that many older people cannot eat a great deal of food, but from what I’ve observed, they do not. That begs the question: why would you patronize an establishment where you are paying to eat a great deal of food, when in fact, you do not eat a great deal of food?

I believe that the reason these people pay more to go to a buffet and serve themselves is because they are not their to pay just for the food, they are there because they are purchasing the ability to eat a great deal of food. From a completely objective perspective, the ability to pay 10$ and eat one plate of food is not as good a value as the ability to pay $25 and eat as much food as you can, basically until they either throw you out or you expire due to and overdose of au jus. In fact though, many of these people may only eat a $10 plate of food, even though they’ve paid for an au jus overdose.

It’s the perception of value – perceiving to need more, and paying for it, regardless of actual physical need. It’s definitely something to remember, and it’s an interesting lesson learned in the lines to the buffet.

A musical lesson in consumer behavior

I was listening to the radio recently and I thought of an interesting lesson in consumer behavior, specifically regarding modern songs. After listening to several modern popular songs, one can see that writing one of these songs only requires a few key points to become successful, and the really popular songs use several tactics to their advantage to engage the listener. I believe there are three key points for creating a multiplatinum pop song (tongue planted firmly in cheek).

  • Loud, driving beat – pop songs typically try to promote an escapist type of atmosphere, so this is an absolute necessity.
  • Easy to remember lyrics- the typical audience, especially in a club or bar scene, may be slightly (or completely) inebriated. Therefore, the ability to easily recall lyrics is important for the consumer to feel engaged, and to enjoy the song more.
  • Many pop songs get extra points for having sections where the audience can interact, whether it is a ‘call and answer’ section, or a section that requires a specific dance.
In all seriousness, creating a successful pop song requires the audience to be engaged, and the best songs really understand consumer behavior, and leverage that understanding to create a hit song. Next time you turn on the radio and hear a pop song, listen for those points!

Ripples in a pond

A few days ago, I was waiting at a stoplight. I was momentarily preoccupied with my radio, when the light turned green, and I didn’t notice. As I was getting my car into gear, the individual behind me decided, because she had clearly waited too long to proceed through the light, that it would be prudent to hold her car horn down and flail her arms wildly in an attempt to convey her concern for my lack of forward momentum.

Now I am not saying I was not at fault in this situation, but it did make me think about the ripple effect, and what it could mean in a business environment.

I suppose the lesson to remember is that you never know who you are dealing with, so therefore you should attempt to deal with everyone equally and fairly. The moment you let your emotions get control of your actions, and, lets just say for example, flail your arms around wildly, you may create a situation that may negatively affect you in the future. One should be mindful of every ripple you create, because you never know how and when that ripple might come back and affect you, wether its with your customers, your coworkers, or your business partners.

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Where should you advertise?

In case you have been living under a rock for the last half-decade, you will know that mobile applications are the new in thing. It is relatively easy and cheap for a company to hire a programming firm to create a custom application for their business that can be used to drive real dollars to their business, and in some situations, the applications can actually become the business. But what about advertising in the traditional sense, with all of this traffic thrown on to mobile devices and off of newspapers, TV, and radio?

Enter in-app advertising. MediaPost News states that consumers have a higher rate of recall from mobile advertising than from more traditional advertising form, simply because those advertisements are rich in format and usually take up the whole screen. MediaPost states that 65% of advertising was recalled when in the iPhone app, while only 30% was recalled in more traditional web advertising.

What does this mean for businesses? I think that if it makes sense for your business, there should be a big push towards mobile apps- and if that is the case, why not utilize a system like Google’s Adsense or Apple’s iAdvertise? If customers can remember your ads, customers will remember your business, and will perhaps be more likely to frequent your business!

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I just wanted to take a quick moment to remind you of something that constantly gets away from me, and is something I believe is key to success in any endeavor- simplicity.

All too often, I find myself looking for the most creative solution- or, perhaps more correctly, I find myself looking for a solution though my creativity, and in the process, I tend to forget about a very basic but very important principle: simplicity.

There is a certain beauty in a problem solved by a simple solution. In many cases, it is very easy to become entangled in the details of a situation and miss the overall greater point, or perhaps a very easy, very evident solution. I believe that those of us who are in education programs are encouraged to think of creative solutions, and we are very prone to overlook a simple, elegant solution for one that is much more complex. Furthermore, I believe those of us who are ‘set in our ways’ and those of us who are experts in our fields may have a much harder time finding a simple solution.

I challenge you to find a simple solution to your next problem!

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Viral marketing- is it here to stay?

Viral marketing is one of the newer marketing trends, aimed at those with higher social media connectivity than others. Thus far, viral marketing has proved itself among younger audiences everywhere, but to those without social connectivity, the point is generally lost.

Take, for example, this advertisement.

This video may be shared among friends, but the YouTube phenomenon is generally shared by the younger generation, and so, many viral marketing efforts, such as the gorilla hammering on the drums, may not reach the wider demographic as a whole. Some may argue that the power of viral marketing is in it’s ability to target an audience, but I would argue that more exposure is better. Anyone with a sales background will be able to tell you that a broader audience will typically result in greater sales, as apposed to targeting a very small portion of the audience and only reaching them.

Viral marketing does have the potential to reach outside the social media atmosphere, wherein somebody who maintains a high level of connection will see an advertisement, and will share that with someone who maintains a lower level of connection, or possibly no connection at all.

I believe that viral marketing is here to stay, even if viral marketing efforts are not targeted at an older audience. I think that this more interactive type of marketing and advertising will only continue to grow, because of their wide range of appeal and relatively low cost. Traditional medias should beware!