Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Consumer is (still) my wife

I was writing a presentation on the basics of marketing the other day for a session.
Swept the mental cobwebs off the Aaker, Ries and Trout and Kotler wisdom.
Trawled the net for quotes from the ad gurus of yesteryears.
Patiently read new blogs and write ups.
All of which screamed and hollered- CHANGE.

The change in media consumption.
The new age of big ideas.
The demi god social media brands that feature proudly in every piece.

Generating conversations.
Building communities.
If your brand doesn't have a case study or two on this, you better run for cover.

Set me thinking.

Are we being blinded by the bands of digital, social media, new media, new thinking tools to a fault?
Have we put on the altar the strong and sound principles of marketing ( and advertising) that actually SOLD products?
Does our measurement metrics focus so much on generating virtual appeal and social brownies that we forget the tactical strategies that gave competition sleepless nights?

Coming to advertising and communication- it's the same story.
What's the new digital/ social idea that has got us 1 million hits and 2 million views?

Have we boarded the Engagement Band Wagon?
Created that newsmaking youtube viral?

That did generate conversation, unpaid media, internal back pats and glowing tributes.
But may not have cranked up those numbers that finally make the brand what it is.

A promotion has almost become a bad word today.
Shouting about why your product works better seems to be relegated to that "product film" which is more a check box.
Somehow we seem to forget that most of the iconic "brands" we sing eulogies about became what they are because people BOUGHT them, not just clicked a LIKE.
Buying means a strong understanding of triggers, of the cycle, of key drivers.
Of that final mile in retail .
That campaign that made me sit up and plonk it in my shopping cart the next day.
I remember doing that on so many brands- Fryums, Ceasefire( never needed one till my mum saw the ad), Pureit water purifiers, my first pair of Nike, Tanishq, Listerine mouthwash ( always thought that toothpaste did the job), stock up on Band Aid strips after the two cute daughter in law, mom in law fish ad... the list is endless.

Going back to my presentation, most of what was cast in stone a decade ago seems fossilised now.
My deck looked ancient without a robust section on New Age  Marketing.
So I did add it.
Maybe that's what I do in real life as well.

But the consumer is still "my wife" ( or husband).
And it's time we meet her more often to feel the pulse.

Only then, maybe,  will the sales digits match up to the digital scorecard.