Friday, October 15, 2010

Marketing Strategy: Presence and Reason

one thing i learn from marketing is, the success of a brand building campaign does not solely depend on how loud you shout, but on the way you shout.

imagine, when you walk into a shop, and you see a big-ass display of product in front of you, under normal circumstances, people will either be attracted to it ("wah! new product, let's check it out!'), or merely just acknowledging its existence. ("oh, new product huh. ok...but the display is ugly lah, let's go grab my chips instead")

you can have bright yellow or pink or green backdrop or funky packaging, coupled with a big banner on top saying "Buy 1 free 10" or something. These might catch the attention from some people, especially those that are on limited budget, but it might not work for some. This is because to inform the shopper about something is easier than to convince them to buy one. Why?

When you talk about soda drinks, there's always a brand that will pop up in your mind immediately. Coke? Pepsi? Dr. Pepper?

ok, let's think of diapers. Which brand pops up?

how about, beer, which brand is it?

how about instant noodle, which brand pops up first?

the funny thing about human mind is, image normally comes up first, then your brain will send the signals to the other parts of your body, then, for some reasons, you can almost certainly taste or smell the product you want to buy (not diaper of course, but you might be able to recall how soft/hard/expensive it is).

i.e. we normally store images & experiences in our creative-part of the brain, whereas the rational & logical side of brain will store info like "is it healthy? how expensive is it comparing to the others? will my friend think that i'm a loser if i drink this soda instead of the others?" etc.

so it's like a left brain vs right brain war. And normally the war is quite intense when you go shopping.

how about convenience store? think about it, what drives you to go to a convenience store? to buy a cigarettes? grab a drink? buy newspaper? ATM? grab a pain killer?

The subconscious motive of going to a hypermarket vs convenience store is inherently very different for shoppers. When you plan for your trip to hypermarket with family, you know you want to do grocery shopping, maybe will buy some food...but not sure what yet. In fact, most of the time, we are hoping that the hypermarket can surprise us with good deals or value buys.

However, before you step into a convenience store, most often than not, you already know that one item or two that you want to buy.

it's essential to understand the motives of shoppers before you can plan for anything in the world of FMCG marketing. You can bang table, shout all you can about how great is your brand, but, if this is not what the shoppers want, their reaction will just be merely "acknowledging" your presence, and will not convert into sales.

It's not wrong to have a marketing campaign just to create "Presence". Especially for new brands, you need to have presence then only people know there's a new kid on the block.

But, there are times, you need a marketing campaign to tell the consumers "the Reason" to buy. If this is successful, you will see sales growing healthily across time.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not saying that Reason is more important than Presence, nor the other way around. It's just merely using different strategy for different phase of the product marketing cycle. But i must say that creating a "Reason" marketing strategy is harder than a "Presence" one.

if you have enough marketing budget, then you just need to buy some block displays at high traffic outlets, do some TV ads, competition, or maybe celebrity endorsement then consumers will know about your product. Knowing is one thing, but to make it the first brand that pops up in your mind when you think of that category is another.

Sometimes to create a deeper impression, the product will have a very funny or funky TV ads. You had a good laugh, and you share it on Facebook, but, can you recall the brand after 2-3 months? You might, maybe, but will you rush to the shop right away to buy the product? Or will you purposely look for the product when you are in shop the next time?

Reason-type of marketing will be different. It could be the power of association (i.e. when people see me with this product, then they will think that i am cool) or words of mouth (if you want to drink soda, buy coke), or it could be influenced by the product positioning strategy (if you're thirsty, think of coke or drink coke with hot pot, shiok ah!)

so next time around when you're thirsty or eating hot pot, you will be like "hey, i feel like having a bottle of coke". Isn't it fattening? But you do have a reason to have coke at that moment.

"Because, [i was told that] coke is the perfect match for hot weather!"

there you go. Reason-type marketing is largely based on the Product Positioning marketing strategy. Once you position your product to be of certain price or quality range, then you will need to crack your head to think of the reason for consumer to choose you. Some says it's actually differentiation strategy. I say no. Differentiation is just being different from the others, but it does not convert consumer from A to B.

So if you have this concept at the back of your mind, then you can easily identify which campaign does not fit your marketing strategy. If i want you to buy my potato chips, i will tell you that our product is healthier, tastier, cheaper blah blah blah, and all i need to do is to feed you with info and make sure that you will be convinced. Sometime, being different is just not good enough.

If you have a good "Give me a Reason to Buy" marketing strategy, then, it is almost like having a top insurance agent selling to the consumers on a 24/7 basis.

some food for thoughts.

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