Homer Simpson asks, “What are the Best Marketing Mediums for Authentic Brands?” Part 2

In answering Homer Simpson’s question “What are the Best Marketing Mediums for Authentic Brands?” I told Homer that many ad agencies and marketing firms push their clients to use the marketing mediums that they prefer instead of recommending the marketing medium (or combinations of mediums) that meet their clients goals of driving sales or attracting new customers.

“Marketing firms and ad agencies do this because using THEIR preferred mediums allows them to engage in  “Vanity Marketing.” I explained. “Which means they use their clients’ budgets to:

  1. Do more of the work they enjoy most, which…
  2. Keeps their “crew” busy, so they are never “unavailable,” and…
  3. Generates numerous entries for the various awards they aspire to win, which…
  4. Attract the clients who let them do more of… (Go back to #1 and repeat)”

Homer asked the obvious question. “How do authentic brands escape the vicious circle of “Vanity Marketing”?”

“The only way to avoid getting trapped,” I said firmly, “Is to develop a detailed target market profile and to be very clear on the mediums your target market DO and DON’T respond to.”

“Uh oh – I hear another conversation coming on!” Homer winked.  “You’re right!” I agreed.  “I’ll give you the short answer now but the long answer on detailed Target Market Profiles really warrants an entire conversation of its own.”

“Excellent!” said Homer, “So, what’s the short answer?”

“A Target Market’s preferred marketing mediums are determined by their:
1. needs  2. values and 3. preferences.
I began.

“And how do we know what those are?” asked Homer. “That’s what we’ll cover off in the conversation dedicated solely to Target Markets,” I replied.  “For now, I’m going to use the venerable company, Reader’s Digest, to illustrate my point,” I continued.

“Readers Digest’s Target Market prefers direct mail over any other marketing medium.” I began.

“Why?” Asked Homer. “Don’t they like TV?” “They do,” I assured him, “But direct mail sells far more magazines and books for Reader’s Digest than a 30 or even a 60 second television commercial.”

Homer looked puzzled, so I carried on with my explanation, “You see, the Reader’s Digest Target Market is made up of older people.  Many of them are retired.  And the Reader’s Digest mailers include lots of elements to read which their recipients find interesting and entertaining.  This Target Market also responds very well to the “gift-with-purchase” sales strategy.  Reader’s Digest knows that!  So when one of their prospects makes a  purchase – they give them something else at no extra cost. Often, that’s all it takes to clinch the sale!”

“What sort of stuff do they give away?” Asked Homer, looking intrigued.  “Well,” I began, “The gifts vary quite a lot.  I’ve seen them give away alarm clocks, pens, cutlery…” I began to count out a list. “Cutlery!” Exclaimed Homer. “Wow! I guess they want you to eat their words!”  He collapsed back on the couch and laughed loudly – fully enjoying his joke.

“Anything else?” Asked Homer when he had recovered. “Yes, this Target Market loves the Readers Digest Contests.” I said. “They can win cars and cash prizes…  Plus, some of the contests offer prizes for childrens’ writing, art and photography, so they can get their grandchildren involved too.”

“I can see why they’d like that part.” Homer said,  “But to me those contests seem like a big waste of time.”  “That’s totally understandable!” I responded.  “You’re a lot younger than
the Readers Digest Target Market, Homer.  And you have lots of other things to focus your attention on… You have a job, a wife and three children at home. You also have a car, so it’s easy for you to get around. And you have a group of friends whom you like to hang out with.”
Homer nodded. “That’s true!”

“Think ahead,” I challenged him. “Let’s say you are retired, and a widower. Your children have moved out and are leading busy lives. They have children of their own.”

“Bart and Lisa with kids? Whoah!” said Homer, shaking his head. “No! No! No! No! No!”

“Yes!” I continued, laughing at his horrified expression, “It’s all good Homer. Bart and Lisa will be adults by then – and you’ll be a grandfather!” Homer relaxed. “That’s ok then,” he smiled, imagining himself with his future grand-babies.  I went on.  “Let’s say you have health issues that make it difficult for you to get out of the house. ”

“Uh, let’s NOT say that, but OK,” said Homer “I get your drift…”  “And,” I went on, “A thick Readers Digest mailer is delivered to your mailbox.  It contains many pages of easy to read, interesting information.  It also offers you:

  • Stickers to peel off one page and stick on another
  • A chance to win a car
  • A chance to win a big cash prize
  • A book that condenses four bestsellers into one
  • Free gifts that you get to keep, even if you return the book
  • A 30 day no-hassle return policy on the book
  • No up front payment – you pay when you’ve “reviewed” the book and decided to keep it.

“Wow,” said Homer, smiling slowly, “I guess if  I was old and housebound, getting a package like that would make me feel like Santa had just stopped by!” “That’s it,” I said. “You’ve got it!”

“So d’you think Readers Digest knows their target market’s preferences and needs? Oh – and how to reach them?” I followed through with Homer,  “Wow, do they ever!” He replied, obviously impressed. “I can see why mailers work better for them than a television commercial would.  They’d get less than a minute on TV. And going though the mailer takes, what? An hour?” He asked. “It could,” I admitted, “Especially for someone who isn’t moving too fast or processing very quickly.”

“So do ALL marketing and ad agencies push their clients to do ONLY the work  they enjoy? Do they all party on their client’s nickel and compete with each other to win awards?” Homer asked, frowning. “Not ALL of them Homer.  No.” I replied thoughtfully. “There are a few that, like MIBOSO Authentic Branding, deliver real value to their clients.”

“How can I pick out the good marketing firms and agencies?” Homer asked. “Or tell them apart from the, er, “Vanity Marketers”?”

“It’s really pretty easy, Homer,” I replied, “You start by looking at the tangible results they have delivered for their clients. And then you validate the facts they provide with the clients themselves.”

“Hmmm,” Homer appeared unconvinced that this would be an easy process. “Can you give me a check list or some specific questions I can use?” He asked.  “I’m not so sure I’d be able to tell if they’re giving me the straight goods or “pitching me”.” Homer made a good point, “Because from what you’ve told me, I have to think that they’re pretty good at getting what they want.”

“Of course,” I said, “I’d be happy to do that! Look for that check list in an upcoming post!”

“Will do” said Homer happily, “I’m not gonna let those “Vanity Marketers” use my money to make themselves look good!” He chuckled and rubbed his hands together. “No siree, Bob!”

“Now that we’ve exposed the hidden biases of ad agencies and marketing firms, are you ready to move on to the role of selling?” I asked.

Homer nodded, then grinned, “Pitch me!” He said.

Homer Simpson Accesses Top Marketing Secrets for Authentic Branding

What is the Role of Marketing?

“What exactly is the role of marketing?” Homer asked. “And why do you keep avoiding my question? Is it some sort of “secret” that I need special clearance to get access to?” he persisted.

“Do I need special protection, like a radiation suit or something? I have one at the plant you know!” Homer chuckles. “Or is it like one of those James Bond secret weapons that looks like an umbrella and turns into an Uzi?”

Homer rolls around on the couch, laughing so hard I expected him to topple off at any second. Fortunately, he did not!

“No.” I countered, The marketing secrets themselves are NOT what you need to be protected from! As an Authentic Brand,
you have the right to access them.

It’s the marketing world’s scum that don’t.  These low life characters pretend to be supporting your brand’s success, but instead, they take your budget, do what they want with it and give you a mere 25 or 30 seconds of pointless, easily forgotten entertainment in exchange.

These are the villains that these marketing secrets will arm you to fight
and defeat.”

“That sounds exciting,” said Homer, “And just a little bit scary…”  “It is scary!” I affirmed. “but it’s better to be forewarned and armed than to be yet another victim.” Homer frowned. “I’m no one’s victim!” He declared loudly, puffing out his chest. “Good!” I responded. “That’s the spirit! Now let’s begin!”

The Role of Marketing is to Deliver…

“Homer, I want you to think of marketing as a massive courier service. Imagine that  it
has fleets of planes, trains, trucks, boats, mopeds and bicycles. Imagine that it also has an expansive  collection of specialty vehicles; rickshaws, canoes, skidoos, swamp boats and
more. Oh, and add in a few caravans of camels and teams of sled dogs for use in extreme weather conditions.

“So if marketing is like a courier service, what is it delivering?” Homer asked. “Great question!” I applauded. “The role of marketing is to deliver the brand’s messages, claims and promises to the brand’s target market via one or more of the vehicles that are known  to be able to reach that target market.

“What happens when they do that?” Homer asked.

There Are Two Objectives:

  1. To raise awareness of the brand with the people most likely to value it.
  2. To predispose those prospective customers to buy the brand, by building
    a relationship with them and letting them know which of their problems
    the brand can fix, and how they’ll find it useful.

“I don’t remember hearing about too many marketing messages being delivered by dog-sled,” said Homer, dubiously. “Maybe not,” I agreed, “But if you were up in Alaska or the Yukon, working at a diamond mine and living in a compound, how would you find out about new brands that could fix your problems or make your life easier?”

How Do YOU Learn About the Brands that Can Make Your Life Easier?

“I don’t know,” said Homer, “Infomercials?” “Perhaps,” I allowed, “But I think that it’s more likely that the people in such places would be an excellent target market for direct marketing.  So I would think they get quite a supply of targeted mailings delivered by skidoo or plane
– and possibly even by dog-sled when it is too cold for planes to fly.”

“The people at the diamond mines could also shop with the Internet,” said Homer “I hear that thing is still around.” I laughed, “Yes, it’s still around, and of course they could learn about new brands on-line, but it would be like searching for a needle in a haystack, as opposed to receiving specific messages that address the issues that matter to them.

And of course, once the brand’s marketing messages persuade someone to make a purchase, whatever they buy would have to be delivered in some physical way. Because we still haven’t figured out how to “transport” goods through the ether. The kinds of “mediums” that can reach through time and space are not the ones we’re talking about.” I smiled, entertained by my play on words.

Homer jumped right in and hummed a few bars from the Twilight Zone theme. “That’s right ” I said, “We’re getting close to living what was once science fiction, but we still have a few unconquered frontiers to explore.”

What are Marketing Mediums?

“Marketing mediums is a fancy term for marketing channels,” I went on to explain. “Marketing channels, or marketing mediums, include  radio, television, newspapers, magazines, billboards, websites, and direct mail.”

“Ha ha – channels – like TV!” Homer laughed. “That’s easy to remember.”
I smiled and asked. “So how do you know which channel to use? How do you know which channels your target market is tuning in to?”

Which Channels are Your Audience Tuning In To?

“ Well Homer,” I replied, “That’s the million dollar question. You’ve nailed it.  And it’s a question that all too often doesn’t get asked. And when it IS asked, it tends not to get answered very well.”

“Why?” asked Homer,  “It seems like a simple question.”
“It’s not difficult to answer,
” I replied, “But because it involves numerous agendas and conflicting interests, it takes some time to explain. Let’s take a break now, then come back to it,” I suggested.

Homer’s stomach rumbled loudly.  “There’s a box of donuts  and some sodas on that table. “ I said, pointing. “Take a couple of minutes to put some sugar into your system, because what I have to say next about those marketing villains will make your head spin!”