The information to follow is pretty basic stuff.
But sometimes the most sophisticated, well-educated and experienced
of us needs to stop and remember that the basics we learned in Marketing
101 were some of the most important lessons we'll ever learn.
Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote a book in 1993 called
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and Ries and Ries have just
released a new one called The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding.
Ries and Trout no longer write together, so Al Ries has co-authored
this new book with his wife. And "marketing" is no longer
the buzzword for that which we do, it's now been supplanted by "branding".
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I still believe that branding is all about
marketing, and vice-versa. The reason I mention these wonderful books
is not just because they are each a treasure-trove of straightforward,
easy-to-read information, but because this article deals with a personal
set of rules I've established for myself in assessing marketing materials.
Rule number 1: It's all about the customer.
Why do we do anything? To get people to buy our
product, of course! It doesn't matter if it's an image campaign, name
awareness, branding, or price promotion, if the marketing effort does
not predispose a potential or current prospect to want to buy your product,
it isn't worth the investment. Think about it. The customer is the important
one here, not the ad agency, or the award selection committee, or your
boss (although keeping your job is good, too). It's all about the customer
and how you get the recipient of your message to be one.
Rule number 2: Keep it simple.
Yes, the creative team wants the viewer to THINK
about your message.to make the connectionto subliminally "get"
that you understand what they understand and you're going to respect
his or her intelligence by being able to figure out what you're trying
to say with your oh-so-creative, esoteric, intellectually-stimulating
campaign. Baloney. Effective marketing communications need to make it
EASY for the potential customer to hear what you're trying to say. The
prospect has enough challenges without making him work to decipher your
meaning. Now, this type of work may be the best attraction for high-interest
categories like fashion which are targeted to young, upwardly mobile
consumers. But we want people who TRAVEL, right? And those people tend
to be in their early middle to senior years, who are busy, distracted
and not as intensive in their consumption of the media messages. Lay
it out for them.
Rule number 3: Remember your favorite Marketing
Which one do you use? You may use DRUMS, or any
one of a half-dozen others. I swear by "UMMB": Unique. Meaningful.
Here's how you measure every marketing message by
Is it Unique? - Will the message stand out from
competitive claims? Will the prospect know it's you spending that marketing
dollar, and not a different all-inclusive resort? I respect Sandal's
unique, consistent marketing materials, but think that Breezes and SuperClubs
look remarkably similar these days.
Is it Meaningful? - Does it speak to the prospect's
needs, wants, desires or aspirations? Can the prospect see herself at
your destination or are the people pictured either too beautiful or
totally unappealing to her lifestyle? In the airline industry, I feel
that Continental's "Work Hard, Fly Right" is one of the more
meaningful slogans today.
Is it Memorable? - Will the message stay with the
consumer? Is there enough brand ID that he KNOWS the message is yours?
He's got to remember the name of your brand the next time he books a
hotel, or he'll just book the Ramada again.
Is it Believable? - Can an airline actually claim
to be "Rising" today, and what happens when the passenger
wants to land? What do white-faced jugglers and giraffes have to do
with air travel?
Rule number 4: Frequency is a word your media
planners MUST include in their vocabularies.
Reach is great (but only if you've carefully targeted
your optimum demographics and psychographics) but don't sacrifice frequency.
Unless you plan to blow your whole budget on that one Superbowl :30
which will have enough press attention to forego frequency, don't run
anything that people are going to see/hear or otherwise receive less
than 7 times. Now that may mean 3 times on radio, once in the Yellow
Pages, twice in the newspaper and once on your brochure. Whoever does
your media planning may feel differently, but that's my opinion. And
the message must be the same, which brings us back to the final mandate
Rule number 5: Be consistent.
Your product means "fun". Well then your
product should ALWAYS look and sound like fun, on the radio, in the
Yellow Pages, through the mail and in your brochure and print ads. Your
sales representatives must be fun, your reservations personnel, your
methods of pricing and distribution need an element of fun. Fun is rarely
the most expensive product, but it can be (priced a Disney vacation
lately?). Whatever you are, each and every part of your marketing mix
should reflect that. Only Carnival is the "Fun" ship. It's
a brilliant yet simple mandate. Pick your position and be consistent.
Well, that's it. Those are my personal marketing
rules. Although you can probably break each and every one of them and
be a successful travel marketer, many long-running and phenomenally
results-oriented campaigns have used them.
And none of them mean you can't be innovative, and
breakthrough, and "hot". They just mean you realize, in the
end, it's all about the customer.