I experienced some good customer service today. Not great, but good and that’s enough for me. How sad that our standards have slipped to the point where yesterday’s mediocre is great. Oh well, at least I got a smile for free!
Yes, it’s that time of year again. I’m having a remote starter installed on my van today. I mentioned to someone that every day that there is no lasting snow on the ground is a good one for me. Whoa – wait a minute! I live in a climate that will predictably have winter for 4-8 months of the year. Does that mean that every day of that 4-8 month period will be a bad day??
Time for an attitude adjustment! I used to love winter when I was a kid? How can I embrace the season? Staying warm? Getting out in the crisp cold? Let’s not lock ourselves away from the world for 8 months – get out and enjoy!
I was in Winnipeg for three days over the past week. I met some phenomenal entrepreneurs while teaching a marketing class. One of the things that amazed me was how little they knew about our province as their neighbor. They didn’t know that most of the world’s uranium comes from our north. They didn’t know that our unemployment rate is so low that businesses have given up marketing products and services and are marketing themselves as great employers. They didn’t know that the increased price of wheat will make this Christmas a very merry one across the prairies.
I told the stories of prosperity and wealth. I told stories of our amazing entrepreneurs. They were shocked! Have we got such a beaten down, Depression mentality that our counterparts around the country can’t even think of us as a leading economy?
I just read an article stating that the Wedding industry adds over $1.6 billion (yes, that’s a B) to the US economy every year.
almost 3 times the annual operating budget of the Saskatoon Health Region
10 times the amount that George Bush recently committed to peace talks and aid in the Middle East
Enough to immunize one hundred million children against childhood diseases
With 21% of the global population living on just $1 each day and a divorce rate in North America hovering around the 50% mark, maybe we should consider spending more time preparing for marriage and less money on the wedding.
I was reading an article in Marketing Magazine that noted the power of the Catholic Church’s brand and I was reminded of something my cousin said about the bible (she’s a nun so I take this on good authority). In the bible, Jesus is described as telling parables to his followers. He talked about sheep to the shepherds and fish to the fishermen. He changed his message to refer to people and places that were familiar to the group he was talking to wherever he was. People understood and bought into the messages because they were delivered in a way that they understood.
Time after time, companies struggle with their marketing because they talk in their own language and not in the language of their target market. I once observed a focus group of farmers who were looking at an ad that made a reference to clean laundry. The farmers didn’t get it because most farmers don’t do their own laundry – all of the marketers, graphic artists and copywriters did, but they weren’t buying the product. The ad didn’t speak the language of the target market. (Thank goodness we tested it in a focus group first – but that is another lesson.) The next time you are creating words that are intended to help your customers buy from you, ask yourself the question, “What would Jesus do?”
If you can complete this list, you are showing your age and you’ve just shown that marketing theory is not just fluff. When McDonald’s was really pushing the Big Mac back in the 70’s, it was the start of the specialty burger. Before that, everyone ordered a hamburger, a cheeseburger or a double cheeseburger. Not much variety. McDonald’s had to show people that they had something different in their Big Mac, so they created ads that clearly described what they were selling. I even got an iron on with the ingredient list from my cousin who lived in the city.
Over lunch today, a client and I were struggling to come up with a memorable tag line for his new product. He referenced the McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” tag line as an example of what he was looking for. The “Product Life Cycle” is an important tool to marketers and if you get a chance, you should look it up. Basically, it helps marketers decide what kind of marketing is required based on whether a product is new to the market or older. My client has a new product – people still need to know what is in his Big Mac. It will be a while before his brand is so recognizable that his tag line will not have to reference his product at all. In the early stages of a product, people need clear words and messages about what you do so they don’t get confused. Later, when the product or service function and benefits are known, you can focus on the flashy, emotional brand building that McDonald’s does so well.
For those of you who are too young to remember: cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.