Unbounded Creativity part I- The Problem

When developing marketing collateral of any kind, too frequently marketers, designers and others involved in the process too often think more about developing a piece that is “creative” or “cool” rather than focusing on what is most likely to be successful. Don’t get me wrong, creativity is vital to good marketing. I appreciate good creativity as much as anyone. Each year when the advertising awards are presented by the various publications and/or associations, I eat them up with the rest of my colleagues.

However, it is the unbounded or unrestrained portion of the creativity that becomes a problem. This is where marketing is viewed as some sort of mystical process that magically generates business. You get a few really creative people on your team, leave them to their own devices, and “bam” sales come in the door, people give you money, and ideas are espoused. Continue reading

Marketing Food for Thought

t_newhard_kHow well do you know grammar? When do you use “its” or “it’s”? When do you say “who” or “whom”? Does it drive you nuts when people say that something is “ironic” when it is actually “coincidental?” Call me weird, but I like to use grammar and words properly, most of the time. That brings me to the word “marketing.” What does it mean?

The Problem

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as: the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.[1] The term developed from the original meaning which referred literally to going to a market to buy or sell goods or services.

A close examination of this definition reveals that marketing involves many things in order to get a product to market. Please allow me to expound an analogy that might shed some light on this. Continue reading

Response Rates v. Promotional Offers

Getting customers to respond to marketing efforts has been an age-old dilemma for all marketers. Many think that enticing customers with some sort of promotional offer or discount is the best way to spark customer interest or sales. There is no question the promotional offers can be effective for certain types of products or services. However, once promotional (money lost due to discounting) and actual (price of marketing the promotion) costs are combined in with the conditioning effect that can cause some customers to buy only when a product or service is on sale, the promotional offer can be far more expensive than you could have ever anticipated. Continue reading