Murdoch Marketing http://www.murdochmarketing.com Just another WordPress site Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:23:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 What’s In A Name? A Marketing Opportunity. http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/04/whats-in-a-name-a-marketing-opportunity/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/04/whats-in-a-name-a-marketing-opportunity/#comments Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:23:29 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17677 MailChimp is a pretty familiar tool to most, with over 15 million using their email marketing services worldwide.[1] Despite its popularity and a name that is relatively easy to pronounce (really, though – imagine being named Iulia), the folks at MailChimp apparently had a history of people mispronouncing the...

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MailChimp is a pretty familiar tool to most, with over 15 million using their email marketing services worldwide.[1] Despite its popularity and a name that is relatively easy to pronounce (really, though – imagine being named Iulia), the folks at MailChimp apparently had a history of people mispronouncing the service. So, did they see this as a marketing opportunity to release a campaign with a pronunciation guide to help educate the masses? Not quite.

 

That’s right. An entire campaign embracing the mispronunciation. Droga, the studio behind the piece, writes on their website, “instead of the expected brand campaign, the company created an ecosystem of additive, artful and playful experiences.”[2]. The Did You Mean MailChimp Campaign pieces include video ads, custom domains and websites, and even short films – just to name a few. It’s loud, it’s humorous, and even playfully informative. Most of all — it’s MailChimp.

This approach won’t necessarily work for everyone, but there are some key takeaways one can learn from this:

1. Tap into a unique (maybe even funny) aspect of your company narrative. 

MailChimp, rather than just correcting the mispronunciation phenomena surrounding its name (or ignoring it and hoping it went away), highlighted the unique ways all of their customers interpret their company.

2. Marry your brand message and tone to the medium(s) you will use.

MailChimp has always had a playful brand, so it’s no wonder that for this campaign they fused the slight absurdity of their messaging with unique platforms. Nothing says playful absurdity like several short films screened in select theaters.

3. Never miss an opportunity to reinforce your brand identity.

The entire Did You Mean MailChimp campaign just felt like MailChimp. They paired bright, vibrant visuals with a tone that was in line with MailChimp’s language throughout their site.

The success of this campaign boiled down to one thing for me — the campaign reflected MailChimp’s service and customer base. The various websites and fake business and movies reflects some of the diversity of those who use MailChimp’s email marketing service. Second, the color and visuals supported the messaging by conveying a sense of ease – a big promise with their platform.

A  playful campaign like this can be very tempting to a lot of companies, but that doesn’t make it the right approach for everyone. Remember that clients do not revisit or recommend brands that feel inauthentic. So, when approaching your next brand campaign, carefully consider how the different components of your brand — from the voice, to the visual elements, to the formats it takes — interact with one another. You might learn more about your brand than you expected.

Signed,
“you-lee-uh”

 

p.s. Check out more of the campaign on MailChimp’s website.

 

Sources

 

[1] mailchimp.com/about

[2] droga5.com/work/did-you-mean-mailchimp

[3] thinkbonfire.com/blog/brand-authenticity-data-infographic

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The Social Media War between Snapchat and Facebook: What it Means for Marketers http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/04/the-social-media-war-between-snapchat-and-facebook-what-it-means-for-marketers/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/04/the-social-media-war-between-snapchat-and-facebook-what-it-means-for-marketers/#comments Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:11:04 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17664 Snap, parent of Snapchat, has a problem—a big one—and it’s Facebook. Ever since Facebook tried to buy Snapchat in 2013 for $3 billion dollars and was spurned, Facebook has been trying to reinvent Snapchat-like features through Instagram, owned by Facebook, and through its main Facebook...

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Snap, parent of Snapchat, has a problem—a big one—and it’s Facebook.

Ever since Facebook tried to buy Snapchat in 2013 for $3 billion dollars and was spurned, Facebook has been trying to reinvent Snapchat-like features through Instagram, owned by Facebook, and through its main Facebook app. Facebook is not hiding the fact that they are holding a grudge. In the past few weeks, Facebook has added several features similar to Snapchat such as a camera with filters and editing tools right in the mobile app, a button to video feeds, not to mention the “live” video feature.

Investors and Wall Street analysts seem to think that Snapchat has plenty of room to grow, probably one reason for the fairly good start of their IPO in March. So, if you’re a business, how do you decide where to allocate time and social media resources amid these changes?

Here’s the lowdown:

PLATFORM DAILY ACTIVE USERS TOTAL USERS BIGGEST DEMOGRAPHIC
Facebook* 1,230 million 1,860 million 25-34
Instagram** 240 million 500 million 25-34
Snapchat** 158 million 300 million 18-24

*Zephoria  **CSD

Note: Statistics vary slightly in timing and according to the source. This is meant for general comparison only.

A wait-and-see approach might be best at this point. Facebook has the potential to preempt its users from switching to Snapchat if they were not Snapchat users before, and therefore, prevent new growth for Snapchat. Current Snapchat users, who are also Facebook users, may find value in having all of the fun stuff integrated into one app, especially if Facebook is better at developing those bells and whistles that seem to attract the under 24 age group, especially the under 17 group. They may drop Snapchat in lieu of Facebook, unless they still want a platform that is mostly free from parents’ watchful eyes. However, Facebook is likely to win on sheer numbers and global reach.

Ultimately, the social media platforms you choose will be driven by your product, target market, overall brand and marketing strategy. If you are clearly aiming for the younger set, Snapchat may be worth the effort. One thing is for sure, it will all be different next week. In the meantime, we can look forward to more interesting developments between the two companies. Stay tuned, this war is far from over.

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Is Audio Overlooked in Marketing? http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/04/is-audio-overlooked-in-marketing/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/04/is-audio-overlooked-in-marketing/#comments Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17649 Contemporary companies and brands are no strangers to the increasing popularity of integrated campaigns – which can be fueled by social media, experiential design, and even environmental components working in unison. It’s now a knee-jerk reaction for a company to immediately to request a campaign...

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Contemporary companies and brands are no strangers to the increasing popularity of integrated campaigns – which can be fueled by social media, experiential design, and even environmental components working in unison. It’s now a knee-jerk reaction for a company to immediately to request a campaign that hits Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Maybe we’ll throw Pinterest into the mix, just to spice things up.

It’s not a wrong approach, by any means. Statistically, no matter what you post on social media, you’ll get some results. But usually, it takes the backing of a marketing partner’s expertly crafted message and visual to truly succeed. Often this is because this request doesn’t come from an evaluation of previous efforts or a stronger understanding of the target audience, but rather because they saw a similar campaign and want to give it a spin.

But you can go beyond that. Every single marketing effort is an opportunity to establish and reinforce the brand and brand value. With a little ingenuity and a clever marketing team, you can take advantage of existing platforms that might provide a more valuable customer reaction. Chances are, most of your marketing efforts are visual. It’s an approach that fails to acknowledge that humans are wired in the history of storytelling, and our brains continue to favor auditory information.

Audio-based marketing carries a lot of benefits – including lower production costs and inherently dynamic content. Here are two auditory formats and some ideas on how to implement them in your next marketing campaign:

Podcasts

A growing audio medium, podcasts allow you to offer relevant information in a more dynamic, freer format that lends itself to an “on-the-go” audience. This should by no means be an audiobook, but take a more conversational tone. Given the nature of the format, you’ll probably want to experiment with the tone (humor might not be fitting to every subject, for example). Utilize the podcast format to:

  • Build Trust   In addition to factual and relevant information, dynamic voices, interesting conversations, and even guest speakers will deepen a sense of brand trust and credibility.
  • Quickly Provide Valuable Content   Think of a podcast as a living ebook. You’ll want to provide relevant, topical information. Perhaps a service you offer is something you often get questions about? Create a podcast miniseries to dive into a particular subject.
  • Offer Accessibility   Perhaps a significant portion of your target audience has poor eyesight. Perhaps they’re too busy to sit and read an ebook.
  • Solidify Your Brand Voice   Due to the relatively lower production costs, podcasts are a great tool for younger brands or brands in the middle of a refresh to solidify their brand voice and tone by allowing more freedom for experimentation (and iteration).

Spotify

You’re probably no stranger to Pandora and Spotify ads, but have you considered going a bit beyond? Spotify offers more than enough formats for you to get creative.

  • Branded Playlist   The most obvious avenue to take, a branded playlist is a custom playlist that features your logo, an easy way to establish or reinforce a brand connection. Share it on your social media, in a newsletter, or as an email blast freebie.
  • Locale Playlist(s)   Create a soundtrack for an event your brand is a part of, or share a playlist played in a physical location (waiting room, retail location, etc.).
  • Make It Collaborative   Spotify allows you to create a playlist and allow any number of collaborators. Maybe try a competition for the perfect playlist and offer a prize.

 

It’s time to add something new to your marketing. Next up: Smell-o-vision.

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Give Customers What They Want. Two Words: Pink Starburst. http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/04/give-customers-what-they-want/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/04/give-customers-what-they-want/#comments Thu, 06 Apr 2017 15:20:36 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17624 How often are you listening to your customers? How closely are you watching social media posts, reviews on your product, and buying trends? Wrigley’s, the well-known candy company that produces Starburst Fruit Chews, can teach us a thing or two about giving our customers what...

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How often are you listening to your customers? How closely are you watching social media posts, reviews on your product, and buying trends?

Wrigley’s, the well-known candy company that produces Starburst Fruit Chews, can teach us a thing or two about giving our customers what they want.

Starburst recently announced they will soon be releasing limited edition ‘all pink’ packs of their famous candy. Social media and news outlets have been buzzing with the news.

If you’re a Starburst fan like myself, I am sure you can relate to opening a pack of Starburst and searching for those select few pink ones … often pushing the orange and yellow to the side for later.

Social media played a part in the special edition of the candy, according to Matt Montei, Wrigley’s senior director of confections. “On social media we’re seeing people talk about pink Starburst more than any other flavor; there’s even a meme about being treated ‘like a pink Starburst,’” Montei said. “The pink conversation and fanfare has continued to grow, so we decided to act.”

The ‘all pink’ packs will be available in April … just in time for Easter. (coincidence?)

There’s nothing more effective for improving your product or service then listening to the feedback of your customers. So review those social media posts, ask for customer feedback and offer online survey and review opportunities. Give them what they want and they’ll show you even more support and be life-long customers.

(Image via Starburst’s Facebook page.)

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Algorithms Gone Wild http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/03/algorithms-gone-wild/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/03/algorithms-gone-wild/#comments Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:32:47 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17638 You may have heard recently that the British unit of Volkswagen, Hyundai, McDonald’s and L’Oréal dropped some advertising from Youtube when algorithms served up their targeted advertising alongside controversial content, spurring a seething caldron of debate about censorship of user-generated content by Google, a role...

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You may have heard recently that the British unit of Volkswagen, Hyundai, McDonald’s and L’Oréal dropped some advertising from Youtube when algorithms served up their targeted advertising alongside controversial content, spurring a seething caldron of debate about censorship of user-generated content by Google, a role that they are reluctant to take. After all, advertisers should have been aware of how the platform and algorithms work, right?

We are finding out that, through the rich data and sophisticated algorithms at companies like Facebook and Google, we have in some manner achieved the marketer’s ultimate dream as far as being able to segment and target their brands to a highly specific audience but it’s coming at some cost. In the world of ever-changing, user-generated content, advertisers can have a far reach into markets, but sometimes with unintended consequences.

But can you have your cake and eat it too? With ad spending on digital channels surpassing that of traditional linear TV advertising for the first time this year according to eMarketer, companies are starting to take notice. The dilemma is asking Google (and Facebook too) to exert greater control over the user-generated content, which may contradict the fundamental nature of the channel, yet advertisers still want to make use of algorithms to reach their targets. Are we headed down a slippery slope? What about content that is just questionable, or just a little more nuanced?

Google, undoubtedly has no choice in the matter. They will have to find a way to improve their filters or figure out new algorithms that steer ads to a yet more refined audience, lest be threatened with loss of ad revenue. With more powerful artificial intelligence via robust neural networks and deep machine learning, we may find more solutions, as well as more problems, and so therein lies the beauty of the internet and all the ensuing technologies. In the meantime, it’s “buyer beware” for marketers that comes with a promise for more intelligence.

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Does Social Work? http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/03/does-social-work/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/03/does-social-work/#comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:05:04 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17629 How we quantified a social promotion. This post will not answer every digital question facing your company. What it will do, is outline a highly successful cross-platform social media campaign we currently ran for one of our clients. The first step in any promotion is...

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How we quantified a social promotion.
This post will not answer every digital question facing your company. What it will do, is outline a highly successful cross-platform social media campaign we currently ran for one of our clients.

The first step in any promotion is to define your objectives. Are you trying to expand your reach? Establish your brand? Sell your product? For our example, we planned to do all three with an emphasis on expanding reach. Specifically, we planned to increase our Facebook following by 10%, increase our email mailing list by 15%, gain 25% more YouTube subscribers, and sell more product.

With our objectives clearly defined, our next step was to create a promotion and social plan. After considering our goals, budget, and the odds of this promotion “going viral”… here’s what we did:

1. Established a Baseline

2. Found Partners
We approached two non-competing companies, with products in the same market as our client, and asked them to donate a product to our promotion in exchange for the exposure this promotion would provide.

3. Developed a Promotion
WIN a FREE (awesome product), (partner product A), (partner product B), this accessory, that accessory, those accessories, and more in our New Years Giveaway! We then built a page on their website and gave users three chances to enter… encouraging them to enter three times.
       1. Share this promotion on Facebook.
       2. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
       3. Sign up for our Newsletter.

4. Built our Assets
Our messaging focused on clarity and quickly digested content, while our visual goal was to gain attention, evoke excitement, and hold our clients brand. Copy and graphics were developed for multiple social channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, and email.

5. Communicated
With creative assets in hand and a valuable award on the line … spreading the word was the easy part. We released our message across our client and partners’ social channels. We strategically promoted a few posts early in the contest to jump-start our initial reach. And then nurtured the organic growth by following up on conversations, tweets, shares, and doing our best to fan the flames. (Tip: Genuine interaction is one of the best-kept secrets in social).

6. We Delivered
When all was said and done, we delivered…

In Review
The statistics for this promotion are clear, we exceeded our objectives.


1. We increased our Facebook following by 11.3% and our promotion was shared over 13,000 times.
2. We more than doubled our email mailing list, increasing our contacts by 106.2%.
3. We gained 690.3% more YouTube subscribers. No, that is not a typo.
What isn’t shown in these social media statistics is that this promotion moved the bottom line. Significantly. It was truly a tipping point for our client, as online sales went from five units per day to twelve, and those are numbers we can hang our hat on.

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Colored Oreos Taste Better http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/03/colored-oreos-taste-better/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/03/colored-oreos-taste-better/#comments Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:25:10 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17619 First let’s set the record straight. Original double-stuffed Oreos are by far, the best type of Oreo. The original cream flavor and perfect cream-to-cookie ratio makes  double-stuffed Oreos the perfect paring with a glass of milk. They say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Well add...

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First let’s set the record straight. Original double-stuffed Oreos are by far, the best type of Oreo. The original cream flavor and perfect cream-to-cookie ratio makes  double-stuffed Oreos the perfect paring with a glass of milk. They say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Well add some color to it, and all of sudden they taste even better. 

There is something about the seasonal Oreos that just taste better. Besides the food coloring, Spring, Halloween and Winter Oreos are all the same recipe. So why do they taste better? 

The bright and fun colors could be it. Or maybe the thematic packaging? Sight is a huge part of how we perceive taste. Vibrant colors work well with desserts and snacks. But I think it’s more then that. The limited availability of seasonal Oreos is probably the biggest draw for me. I just have to pick up a package when spring is breaking, and I see a huge Oreo display. 

Whatever it is, Oreo is doing it right. Unlike other product variations, which may actually canibalize sales of the original product, Oreo sales continue to rise to more than $3 billion in annual sales: by far the largest selling cookie brand.

What’s your favorite type of Oreo?

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The Social Media Design Lexicon http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/02/the-social-media-design-lexicon/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/02/the-social-media-design-lexicon/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:00:49 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17526 A User-Generated Shift in Design Fire up any social media app, and you’re guaranteed to be inundated with tiles of beautifully plated food, pristine blue-green waters in the tropics, and a desk so meticulously organized you almost forget this particular friend’s commitment to creating a...

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A User-Generated Shift in Design

Fire up any social media app, and you’re guaranteed to be inundated with tiles of beautifully plated food, pristine blue-green waters in the tropics, and a desk so meticulously organized you almost forget this particular friend’s commitment to creating a new form of sentient life in their sink just two days ago. 

Despite people clamoring that social media created this apparent phenomena of self-editing, it’s quite far from true. Humans have always altered the “self” they present to the world – it comes with the territory of being a social creature. We spend our formative years learning to navigate a social environment that is dependent upon us reading social cues that shift the “self” we present. But I’m not here to discuss the psychology of sharing, or even blame social media for all societal ills. I am, however, here to wildly speculate on what this shift means to visual design.

Visual design functions through an lexicon of images, colors, patterns, and icons, often dependent upon culture to aid in the context. This language is just like– well– a language. It only works if the other person has the toolset to decode it. This often means that, as a whole, visual literacy ebbs and flows according to what the majority is doing.

We see this happening dramatically in the design world with what Paul Adams of Intercom dubbed “The Dribbblisation of Design[1] Adams argues that design often becomes homogenous through a focus on the resultant visual rather than the meaning or context. It’s the equivalent of building a transatlantic bridge but only making it large enough to hold pedestrians or bikes.

Piers_plowman_drolleries

BLACKLETTER, OR GOTHIC SCRIPT.
CHECK OUT THAT READABLITY

A good example of this widespread shift in design literacy is typefaces. Back even before the the good ol’ Gutenberg days, the human brain understood one thing very well: blackletter, or Gothic Script. It was the standard, the norm, the modus operandi of writing.

Today, the jumble of vertical lines, squished closely together even with all the flourishes, appears illustrative rather than functional. Yet, at the time, this was no more difficult to read in its time than serifs were in the 15th century, or sans-serifs are now.

The brain remains unsurprisingly adept at translating what the eye constantly sees–and our eyes see so much more thanks to the internet.

Now, a small, flat rectangular screen that we hold in our hands (when we’re not dropping it in the toilet) contains our entire world. One selfie post takes half an hour of shooting and editing, that clever comment went through four revisions. We have become curators and editors, tailoring the reality we present not just to strangers, but the people we know. We are becoming more deliberate–and this has resulted in the commodification of the individual. Merriam-Webster defines a commodity as, “something useful or valued,”[2] usually with the intent of sale.

Yeah – that follower count you’re trying to ramp up? You’re quite literally turning yourself into a product by assigning a measurable value.

So, the argument should follow that we aren’t spectacularly unique products. After all, we’re curating a perfection based on the other bytes we’ve seen–copying a convention because we have a stronger gauge of its impact. So is design doomed? Is user-generated content creating an blurry average of visuals whose focus on being quickly digested that is skewing the output of the “professional” design industry?

Brutalist Websites

BRUTALIST WEBSITES – LIKE A SLAP IN THE FACE FROM THE 90s.

 

 

No. Everything ever in and out of this world has been reactive and cyclical. A focus on industrialization resulted in the rise of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 19th century, which then resulted in a shift back towards mechanized production, which then – you get the gist. What’s newer is that the reactive push-and-pull of design is significantly faster.

We’ve already seen a strong response to the focus on “beauty.” A resurgence in brutalism is apparent throughout the web, 80s geometry and type has been cleaned slightly but left intact, and 90s colors and gradients are back and so neon you can hear the crackle and hum of the CRT tv.

Ugly isn’t the only way to go – another response is to stop focusing on the old “form follows function” adage by designing “pretty for pretty’s sake”. Clean, serious, and very Western minimal design has seen a shift towards ornate, decorative, and playful visuals – largely through the influence of the sole user.

With an increasing power to define and influence the visual lexicon that shapes the visual world of humans, we are also seeing growing spheres of influence from more and more cultures and regions. Borrowing visual components from other cultures is hardly new, but the manner it’s being carried out in is quite distinct. Individuals from their respective regions and cultures are responsible for these insights, rather than an outsider that visits and “brings” back selected components. This increases the context and meaning of the elements, ideally resulting in a truer understanding and avoidance of appropriation.

As most designers will tell you, following a trend may pay off in the short run, but ultimately its value decays. With a slew of images all shiny and tailored, perhaps we should be curating for authenticity rather than status. Perhaps we will become more conscious consumers and designers because of our increased exposure to new design. Perhaps users the world over will change the metric by which we view the world. Perhaps we’ll just continue shoving the stuff on our desk out of frame to show off that clean, organized workspace.

[1] Paul Adams. Inside Intercom, 2016. blog.intercom.com/the-dribbblisation-of-design

[2] Merriam Webster. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commodity

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So, Your Brand is Really Stable? That’s Too Bad. http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/02/why-is-your-brand-stable/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/02/why-is-your-brand-stable/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 16:16:06 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17518 It’s an oversimplification to divide marketing into offense vs. defense, but let’s wander around in it anyway. Playing offense in growing your market share and expanding your brand goes without saying. Yet there are times when you need to play defense to protect market share....

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It’s an oversimplification to divide marketing into offense vs. defense, but let’s wander around in it anyway.

Playing offense in growing your market share and expanding your brand goes without saying. Yet there are times when you need to play defense to protect market share. (let’s not confuse the issue with ‘best defense is a good offense’).

Just how you go about it is the stuff of marketing textbooks, including dismal failures of brand extensions. Always extend up (Toyota > Lexus) not down (Cadillac > Cimarron). Regardless of your automotive preferences, you’ll likely agree with Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

Henry touched upon the fact that we are all, to some degree, self-regulated by our beliefs. The key is to not allow our personal governor to impede the results of our marketing efforts, offense or defense.

In an antiquated but still appropriate sales story, a certain salesman always managed to make $5000 per year, regardless of the territory he was assigned or the commission he was paid.

As a result of his success, he was given a much larger territory. His commission amounted to almost the same amount as he had made in the smaller one – $5000. The next year the company increased commission rates for all sales staff; again this salesman made only $5000. Demoted to the poorest territories – he again made his usual $5000.

The problem was self-regulation: he thought of himself as a $5000-per-year man and he worked to keep that self-image stable, regardless of outside conditions.

So why is your brand stable?

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What does love cost? http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/02/what-does-love-cost/ http://www.murdochmarketing.com/2017/02/what-does-love-cost/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2017 09:30:45 +0000 http://www.murdochmarketing.com/?p=17510 As Johnny Depp would say, “The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” However, this doesn’t stop others from trying. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there will be those who are frantically making last minute plans...

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As Johnny Depp would say, “The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”

However, this doesn’t stop others from trying. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there will be those who are frantically making last minute plans or purchases while others wait ever so impatiently in anticipation.

As one of our core needs, love is powerful, and on a day like Valentine’s Day, it can be a marketer’s #1 sales pitch. Stores run red and white with commercial symbols of love, aisles upon aisles filled with sweet and comedic cards. Not to mention the tons of chocolate and fields of flowers that will be exchanged. Plus there’s the expensive jewelry, fancy dinners, and men pulled in to watch an array of Nicolas Spark’s films for the 4th time.

This combination of emotional purchases to express love produces quite a nice payday for businesses. American’s last year spent approximately $20 billion on Valentine’s Day according to the National Retail Federation, with the average expenditure totaling up to $500 per person. Valentines Day is second only to Christmas for spending per person on a holiday. Businesses know this well and are not shy when it comes to marketing campaigns, making us question a dollar value we might place on a loved one in our life.

What’s more, consumers may not think rationally or economically on a day like Valentine’s Day. It’s a day for pizazz and splurges. Should I upgrade to that 48-piece chocolate box and add that extra dozen roses? Of course I should purchase that bottle of wine I’ve been eyeing and go to that restaurant I’ve only dreamed about! Why shouldn’t I order candy hearts with my SO’s initials on them and get that card at the store that just “describes our love so perfectly”?

Alas, for those who don’t celebrate, go treat yourself, you deserve it. Either way, celebrate as you will and truly show the Black Eyed Peas where the love is.

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