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:
- Do more of the work they enjoy most, which…
- Keeps their “crew” busy, so they are never “unavailable,” and…
- Generates numerous entries for the various awards they aspire to win, which…
- 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.