Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Best of Marketing Genius: Duracell - Sellling the Benefit

Selling the Benefit: Duracell
[first published here May 2007]

I am very impressed with the new Duracell battery advertising campaign. Have you heard it or seen it? I've caught this campaign on TV and radio. The most impressive part to me is that Duracell understands that it is not selling batteries. No, the company is selling the benefits that its batteries provide.The advertisements are a series of 30-second case studies. In each, the Duracell battery is feature in a critical application. Here are a few examples:

The SignalOne Voice Alarm - studies show that when a fire happens in the middle of the night, the most reliable method of waking a sleeping child is to have the fire alarm loudly project the sound of his mother's voice (a pre-recorded message: "honey wake up; there's a fire in the house.) The SignalOne alarm is equipped with the Duracell battery. To whom would you entrust your child's life in the event of a fire? Duracell the battery that's trusted everywhere.

Heart Monitors - in hospitals the heart monitors that are used on patients following open heart surgery are equipped with Duracell batteries. When monitoring every heartbeat matters, which brand of battery do hospitals trust? Duracell, of course.

Glucose Meters - its more than just a finger stick. It's your health. Some things are too important to take chances with. Make sure your glucose meter is equipped with a Duracell battery, the brand that is trusted everywhere.

Zoll Defibrillator - a vignette ad that alternates between a proud mother snapping photos of her son at graduation ... and a sequence in which that same boy one year prior had a heart failure during a basketball game. The same battery that enables Mom and her camera to preserve the family's memories allowed the medical team to preserve her son's life with a Zoll Portable Defibrillator, powered by Duracell batteries.

What is Duracell selling? Far from promoting batteries, Duracell is selling peace of mind. Duracell is selling the benefits of avoiding worry, living longer and improving one's health. That's smart marketing and a great ad campaign. Kudos to the marketing geniuses behind the Duracell campaign!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Meet Our Newest Team Member - CREO

He's quirky. He is somewhat shy. And he is a creative powerhouse.

It is with great pride that I introduce you to CREO. He is the embodiment of creativity at Maple Creative.

To say that CREO is the newest member of our team is not totally accurate. CREO has been here all along. However, it is only recently that we have coaxed and persuaded him to go public.

CREO authorized us to release the following statement. Quoting directly:

"sdfe jiojoj fex jiokol cdsder njoi awesere njmkiol gferf. joij-fewf, dwed jkoj jioj sdfew. kop awqq njmklfreeeet vbdf bnjhn. cfde hjui serq jkioj? zasew oip dfger uiohuji ,.,,,.liuo ewfer?/?"

Okay, so CREO is a lousy typist. But the dude has huge hands... and only 8 fingers. Let's cut him a break. Allow me to translate:

"So Maple is a cool place in many respects. It is a really nice outlet for my creativity. I wonder sometimes if I am fitting in with them, though. Do they get me? And why do they leave here in the afternoon, because creativity never sleeps. Creativity lives here. Who stole my Funyuns?"

Go figure....

The guy can be a pest at times, to be sure. And talk about making a mess! But get him in on a brainstorming and the creative level just skyrockets! He's been in the State Journal and in West Virginia Executive lately. Oh, and rumor has it that he'll be showing up on YouTube and Facebook soon. We can only hope and pray that this recent "fame" doesn't go to his (freakin' huge) head.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Best of Marketing Genius: Successful Event Promotion (Pt. 2)

Keys to Successful Event Promotion - Part Two
[first published here July 2006]

It is getting tougher and tougher, to get the people you want and need to come to your important event to actually attend. The problem is two-fold. People are busier. They are also being bombarded with requests to attend events. That means there's more competition for their valuable, scarce time. No matter if your event is an annual meeting or a fundraiser or an educational seminar or a sales presentation. No matter if your event is in the morning or the evening ... food or no food, you have to be lucky or smart to end up with a full room on the appointed date and time of your big event.

Oh sure, you could pay people $100 to attend ... or you could hire a celebrity or sports hero to entice people to attend. Either tactic might boost the numbers. Most of us do not have such a rich marketing treasure chest. Now, as for luck, we'll leave that to others and focus on helping you become a smarter event promoter. So here goes!

Earlier this month we introduced you to the RSVP model for event promotion. Here are more helpful insights for you:

V - Variety
To get your invitee to respond, it is no longer enough to mail him an engraved invitation. You have to communicate the information about your event through a variety of channels. Invite them by way of a mailed piece, fine. But combine that tactic with an e-mail invitation. And don't forget to use the media. Hit your invitee in her mailbox. Hit her in her inbox (e-mail). And also hit her in her newspaper and even her radio station. Yes, if you are crafty and persuasive you can get your event covered in the media. Don't expect an expose, though; a simple announcement is much more likely--and still helpful.

P - Packaging
If you want to cut through the clutter and have your invitees pay attention to your invitation and your event, you have to package it. Make it interesting. Add some sizzle. Build up anticipation for the event. Make it the don't-miss-event-of-the-year. Explain why your event is valuable and important. How can you make it more fun ... more important ... or more enticing?

Example: "Attend our annual meeting where you'll have the chance to visit with 20 of the city's most successful business owners."

Another example: one of our clients opened a new facility in one of the city's oldest hotels, a 1920's era building. We gave the grand opening a Roaring Twenties theme, complete with period props, caterers dressed in period costumes and a big band playing swing tunes. It was a smashing success, something different.

Look, there's no cookie-cutter solution. You have to be creative--and you have to know your audience. To be sure, there's a fine line between unique and cheesy; your job is to know that balance point. We're not here to give you the one answer. The point is that marketing geniuses avoid going through the same old tired, mindless tactics that no longer work.

In closing, we ask you, marketing geniuses: what have you done or seen that packed the house for a special event? Please share your stories with us.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Best of Marketing Genius: Successful Event Promotion (Pt. 1)

Keys to Successful Event Promotion - Part 1
[first published here in July 2006]

In our increasingly saturated, information overload world, it's getting harder and harder to get people to attend events. It doesn't seem to matter whether it is a party, an educational seminar or a demonstration. People are busy, to be sure. It also seems that the people who we want to come to our event are getting hit with tons of other invitations from people urging them to come to their events. Not to mention the fact that our invitees are working longer hours, and they're busy parenting their active, involved kids.

So what's a marketing genius to do? Before you raise your arms in exasperation, try the 'RSVP' approach. It's the smarter way of promoting events.

R - Repetition
You have to send your message multiple times. That busy invitee may toss the first invitation. The second one might come at the wrong time ... but that third request catches her just when she has a free moment to focus. If your budget allows, plan and deploy a series of communications to promote your event. Start with a teaser, then send a "Save the Date" message. Continue with the official invitation and follow it with a news clipping about your event. Later, send a friendly reminder, followed by a blurb along the lines of "Look Who's Coming!" If you are operating on a shoe-string budget, you would be wise to send the exact same invitation two or three times, simply to ensure that it gets through. A repetitive communication series gets results. A one-shot invitation gets ignored, misplaced or trashed.

S - Simplicity
How simple can you make it for your invitee to attend your event? I mean, really, really simple. Can you make it so easy that all she has to do is show up? Ask yourself: Is the response step really necessary? Could we go with "Regrets only?" Do not require an RSVP, unless it is truly needed. If you are inviting via e-mail, make it simple for them to just click "Reply" to register. Avoid using a complicated Web form, if possible. Simplify your process; it will make things easier on you and your guests.

There you have it: the "R" and the "S" of the RSVP approach. We'll share the rest with you over the next couple of days.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Best of Marketing Genius: 4 C's of Marketing

More Marketing Basics: The Four C's of Marketing
[First appeared on Marketing Genius February 2006]

We've all heard about the four P's of marketing. Now, let's take a look at another categorization system--the Four Cs. This system is newer, and in my opinion, is applicable to a wider range of marketing challenges.

The old system of four P's was created before the service/information economies were born--and thus it is best applied to the marketing of products, especially mass retail products. Now, for the 4 C's:

C - Customer
Who is your customer - or prospective customer? What are their needs? Where do they live; where do they work; and what do they do for fun? Where do they get information?

C - Competition
What competitors exist in the market space in question? And what are their strengths, weaknesses and positions?

C - Cost
What will your product (or service) cost? How does this compare? What effect will the cost of your product have on it's perceived value (or position) in the competitive marketplace? And most importantly, what are customers willing to pay?

C - Communication
How will you communicate your offering to customers? What modes of communication are available to you (or your client)? Which will be most effective ... and what will be the strategic mix of communications?

*C - Collaboration (We've added a fifth C)
Can you identify allies or partners who might be willing to help you promote your product or service? Can you share a reciprocal Website link? Is it possible to negotiate a cooperative marketing allowance or program with an organization (or company) that has complementary needs and objectives?

The 4 Ps ... the 4 Cs ... what use is all of this? These are purely and simply tools for analysis and planning. Yes, we really use them ... really think about them. And I encourage you to refer to the four C's or the four P's when you are planning your next marketing program or campaign.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Best of Marketing Genius: Behind the Scenes of Branding

No doubt, you've heard such phrases as brand awareness and brand equity. If you've been visiting Marketing Genius for a while, we hope you've become familiar with other important terms such as brand positioning, brand essence and brand mission.

Recently, several of us Mapleonians reached a mutual conclusion: it is time to take you behind the scenes of the branding work we do. We feel that you are ready for it and that you've earned this special privilege.

So c'mon ... step around that stanchion, follow that rope, just beyond that black curtain. And--whoa--don't trip over that easel!

Good, you've arrived! Ready to have a look at what else goes on?

Ahh - here's the good stuff. This is what really goes on ... behind the branding.

Brandana Potential - an important measure of any brand, this determines how good (or bad) your brand logo will look on a 'doo rag (i.e., a bandana).

B.A.C. - brand alcohol content - the degree to which your brand appeals more strongly to slightly intoxicated consumers (i.e., at cocktail parties, tailgating and keggers). Not to be confused with BUI (more on that later).

Brandapalooza Index - an assessment of your brand's adaptability and potential usage on a concert T-shirt or tie dye.

Brand Stripper Name - a composite consisting of the name of your brand's first pet (typically a pet dog or cat) plus the name of the street that your brand grew up on - mine happens to be Buffy Lincoln, for the record. You must always check this before you launch any new brand.

Brangelina Factor - a predictor, used to measure the probability that your brand will become "adopted by" the Hollywood elite crowd. (Will it become trendy in LA? Is your brand logo likely to become tattooed on Angelina, for example?)

Brandy Warhol Syndrome - inevitably your brand will be given its 15 minutes of fame. Is it ready? What would Andy Warhol do with it? How would he shoot it, or paint it?

Only small doses of this powerful new knowledge are permitted. That's enough for today. We'll show you more next time.Yeah, we had fun, too. You can just find your way out of the backroom. Careful as you go, now. You might be feeling a little light-headed. It's probably just those SprayMount fumes.

[Originally published November 2007]

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