A notorious big-time executive died. As he hung out in Purgatory, waiting for his turn, he was sneaking glances through the windows of both Heaven and Hell. Heaven looked nice with wide green fields, flowers, singing birds, and people having picnics.
‘Hmm, not bad’ thought the former executive.
Hell, on the other hand, looked much more fun. It seemed like a big, wild party was being hosted there; hot girls were dancing and sipping cocktails, while candy girls were circling around, offering the world’s best cigars…everybody seemed like they were having the time of their lives.
‘Hell just seems like so much more fun…I would be so bored in that other place’ the corporate big-wig concluded.
Shortly thereafter, his turn came and a voice asked him ‘Where do you want to go?’
The executive eagerly responded ‘Hell.’
A door opened and the executive walked on through. As soon as he entered, fire started, demons grabbed him from all around, and started to torture him.
‘But, but…’ he began mumbling.
‘But what…you think that we haven’t heard of marketing here as well?’
Brainstorming with self about October’s blog, I fell into the typical Halloween trap. Hey, it’s a trick or treat season, no one can escape it (even here in Germany!). Being in the spirit of the season, I remembered the old marketing joke that you just read. It seems that we marketers have been placed on the same boat as blondes, policemen, and politicians… jokes are being told about all the luring and tricking that has been done throughout the years. Unfortunately, just as with blondes, policemen, and politicians, the outrageously stupid actions of a few individuals was all that it took to cause a whole profession to become a stereotype – marketers have been branded as tricksters. Although it is difficult to change such a stereotype, marketers are evolving, learning, and shifting from tricking to treating (with lots of yummy candy).
1. The product that can solve all of your problems
- Trickers who promised an ‘amazing product that will outperform any other on the market’ never thought about creating a return customer. These marketers who relied on ‘gimmicks’ never planned on building a long-term business but only on that one sale, one profit, one trick. Ninety nine percent of the time, a once-fooled customer will not return for more.
- Treaters are aware that times have changed; in this economy, treaters know that overpromising and exaggerating will take them nowhere. They know that honesty and truthfulness about the product, combined with a creative and witty marketing campaign, will be much more appreciated by customers. And, they will return for more.
2. Don’t put any effort into it…just buy 30 seconds during the Super Bowl or M*A*S*H
- Trickers knew that their brand was in control of the game. The conversation, or should I say monologue, with customers was always on their side. There was no need to care about the customer’s response. They were unbeatable – the side with the recognizable product, more than adequate resources ready to invest in advertising / marketing … and with no need for further effort (engagement with customers, what?). Throw a line (e.g. during the Super Bowl), wait for the fish to bite (they can’t stop talking about you at the water cooler), reap the profit (your brand is etched in their heads).
- Treaters today are here to provide much greater value to the customer experience. They are here not only to come up with and launch the campaign, but also to engage in any conversation that the campaign catalyzes (even if that means defending their brand). They are here to educate, to inform, to show another perspective that customers might have overseen. They’ve learned not to intrude, but wait to be found (ok, let’s be honest, the Super Bowl thing still works for some brands). For the most part, they know that customers have total control over what, when, and how they will be reached.
3. Just add some good looking girls (sex sells everything), or bring a celebrity onboard
- Trickers knew the easy way in and didn’t hesitate to use it. Appealing visuals, lots of fast moving pictures, or even better yet, a trendy celebrity that would endorse the product. Content? Hmm, who wants to read when there’s a hot blonde squeezing toothpaste. And who cares if we end up using a bunch of different characters saying different things….the bigger, the louder, the hotter, the merrier, the better. A consistent and integrated approach?! What’s that?
- Treaters know that content is king and that it will spread like a virus through the Internet (God Bless Smart Water!). Treaters swear in the power of a simple ‘search’ that will bring ALL into the light. They are everywhere, starting with a website and continuing onto different social platforms, blogs, and forums, all along making sure that their message is unified, genuine, and that customers’ questions are all answered with integrity. Yes, you can bring in a hot Isaiah Mustafa and try to make an Old Spice guy just based on sexy abs and fast-moving settings, but if you don’t put the right words in his mouth, he is not THE Old Spice guy.
So, Happy Hallowen fellow treaters! Tricks are so out!