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Creativity Marketing Small Business

Sell the romance

If this commercial started selling what they sell the way everyone else sells it, you would have closed your browser in seconds.

Yet I’ll bet you watched the entire clip.

If Lurpak can make a commercial this compelling about their product, you can too. What can you do to tell your product’s story equally well?

Thanks to @jslarve for the tip.

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Advertising Business Ethics Buy Local Competition Direct Marketing Internet marketing Marketing Scouting Small Business Travel marketing

An ethical lapse, or just not knowing any better?

~ THE EYE ~
Creative Commons License photo credit: KhayaL

Last night I was working on the web site for our local Scout camp.

Lots of Scout troops from out of state visit Glacier National Park every year.

Some of them use our local Scout camp property as a “base camp” for a week or two of treks they make into the Bob Marshall, Glacier Park and elsewhere.

One thing they depend on us for is referrals to quality local businesses for various outdoor adventures. We don’t have the staff, money or licenses to be an outfitter, so we refer them to professionals. Part of that process is providing these troops with contact info.

While looking up some websites to add to the “nearby activities” directory on the camp’s site, I noticed that when I searched for the name of one of the outfitters, a Google Adwords ad for their direct competitor appeared at the top of the page.

“How 1999…”, I thought.

What do I mean by that? It’s a reference to standard (and kinda dumb) stuff that businesses did online way back in 1999.

It could just be a dumb move. Or it could be unethical, which in this case qualifies as both.

Dumb and Dumber

I’ll address “dumb” first.

It could be that this business just doesn’t know any better and thinks they’re being clever by using their competitor’s name as a keyword to place their ad.

The “don’t know any better” thing doesn’t wash with me. Would they buy a Yellow Pages or newspaper ad with the other business’ name in it but put their own phone number in the ad? Of course not. Yet they do it in the hidden keywords of online ads and in their web site’s html source. The ad itself isn’t misleading, of course.

Like the Wild West, whatever you get away with online is legal and ethical, right? I mean It’s online, so the rules are different (if they exist at all), right?

Not hardly.

It’s obvious that outfitter-in-the-ad is advertising their business on Google Adwords using the business name of a competitor as a keyword. It’s equally obvious from the site’s meta info (source code that isn’t visible). The former is subject to discussion. The latter is uncool in any legitimate web marketer’s unwritten rulebook.

If “Joe’s Climbing Wall” had bought an ad to display when “climbing walls” or “climbing walls Glacier Park” is searched, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But that clearly isn’t the case. And no, this isn’t about climbing walls.

A big deal

You might not think this is worth talking about, so let me elaborate a little.

Imagine Ford’s reaction if every search for “Ford Mustang” resulted in seeing a Google search results page starting with Chevy Camaro ads and links.

Should I expect to see both companies in the ads and search results displayed when I search for “American sports car”? Absolutely.

The key here is that this isn’t what the searcher is looking for when looking for a specific business name.

Yeah, I’m yelling. A little, anyhow. Misuse of trade names – even at this level – will sooner or later get you bit. Misleading people in search results also annoys Google, who wants people to find what they are searching for the first time they search.

Placing Gain next to Tide on the shelf at your grocery is fair game (thanks Shane). It’s obvious to the consumer which is which in that case.

How’s your icemaker?

Even for the ethically challenged, using a competitor’s business name as an advertising keyword is a bad idea.

If someone calls your HDTV store and asks a question about the newest 3D TV models and your salesperson say “Well, our refrigerators all have in-door icemakers”, would you expect that prospect to have a positive reaction? How would you react to a totally out-of-context response like that?

It’s foolish.

Likewise, so is advertising your business using someone else’s business name.

The other shoe

What troubles me most is the signal it sends. It makes me question how the rest of your business operates. It could be an innocent mistake. It could be something the web developer did and didn’t share with the business. Further research indicates otherwise.

When it comes to sending Scouts out into the woods or on the water, that wonder extends to…

  • Whether your safety equipment is up to par, or in another ethical lapse, you just say it is.
  • Whether your staff is properly trained, or in another ethical lapse, you just say they are.

It’s the last thought you want in the heads of folks who funnel hundreds of young, out-of-state visitors to businesses like yours.

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Advertising Community Competition Customer relationships Facebook Internet marketing Marketing Positioning Public Relations Restaurants Retail service Small Business Social Media Strategy Web 2.0 Word of mouth marketing

Fishing on Facebook

A common question I’m asked by small business owners is: “Should I use ‘bright shiny object of the month’ to market my business?

Lately, the question tends to be asked in the context of Facebook, but quite frankly, the answer is the same regardless of the magic solution you’re asking about.

As always, the answer is “Fish where the fish are.”

You’d never fish for westslope cutthroat trout in a midwest farm pond. Or at least…you’d never catch any cuts if you did try to fish there.

But..back to Facebook

In the context of Facebook, we’re still talking about people who care about the product or service you provide.

Let me rephrase that: What they really care about is what your product/service does for THEM; caring about you is way down the food chain.

And while it really doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about Facebook or the Weekly World News, I’ll continue in the context of Facebook because there are a few Facebook-specific things to consider.

Ask yourself…

You have to ask yourself a series of questions about the pond you want to fish in.

Can I specifically identify the kind of prospective customers I want to meet? (No is not a valid answer – no matter what you sell)

Do those prospective customers hang out on Facebook?

A question you might not have considered…are your customers mostly women? And are they mostly women in their prime buying years?

If you take a look at the demographics of Facebook users (here, here, here and here), you’ll find that (currently) about 55% of Facebook users are women and the biggest group of women on Facebook are 35-55 years young (Tom Peters would be yelling at you not to ignore this market if he were here).

BUT…the key point is still “Are they actively using Facebook and having a conversation that involves what you do?”

Joining the conversation

Is your product or service the sort of thing that people tend to talk about around the water cooler, the sidelines of a kids’ soccer game or similar? That’s the same kind of conversation that occurs on Facebook.

If your Tribe meets on Facebook, you should be there and join the conversation.

If you were on the sidelines of a kids’ soccer game and the conversation turned to a topic that you are an expert on, would you ignore the people having the conversation or would you join in?

I’m guessing you’d gently find a way to join the conversation.

If you were at a Chamber luncheon and some business owners at your table were discussing a problem that your business’ product and/or service is great at resolving, wouldn’t you find a way to join the discussion in a way that doesn’t impose on the table?

Sure you would.

So…If there’s a conversation on Facebook, how is that different from these two situations?

You’re right. It isn’t different at all.

Finding them on Facebook

So..your next task is to create a Facebook account and search for people having conversations that you can offer value to.

You need to look at Facebook groups. There are groups for every conceivable topic. Some of them are sponsored by industry associations or leading vendors.

You might also look for Facebook “pages” (which normally represent a business) that you have something in common with. Interact when it makes sense.

Your goal is not to carpet bomb Facebook with “buy my stuff, visit my website”. Your goal is to join conversations, deliver value and thus establish your positioning as an expert.

In order to avoid spending all day on it AND to avoid blowing it off, treat it like any other work: Schedule it. If you don’t schedule it, you won’t take it seriously.

If it isn’t right for you: Two ways to say “I don’t use Facebook”

Almost every day, I hear business people saying “I don’t waste my time on Facebook.”

That’s one way to say “I don’t use Facebook.”

I suggest this instead: “I looked on Facebook to see if there was a community of people who need what I sell and found none, so I don’t use it for business. I still check in every few months to see if that has changed.”

That thought process shouldn’t be limited to Facebook.

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Advertising Improvement Restaurants Retail Sales service Small Business The Slight Edge

Crabs in the House, Yo!

Crabs In The House Yo!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sister72

We’ve been talking about little things you can do to bump your business’ revenue and today’s applies to businesses who have a “brick and mortar” location.

Look at the photo. If you drove by this business and remembered that you wanted them to cater a business lunch, what would you do next?

You’d probably call them. Or you might call Jott and leave yourself a reminder to call them.

Except…there’s no number on the sign.

I can’t tell you how many businesses I drive by these days where there is no phone number on their sign, but I can say this: It’s a LOT of them.

Like the corners of my mind

I’m not 29 anymore . It’s not unusual to drive by a business and have that act remind me that I need to do some business with them (personal business, not client work). Naturally this happens when I don’t have time to stop right that minute.

15 or 20 years ago, this might not have been as big a deal since most people didn’t have cell phones.

Nowadays the percentage of people who have mobile phones is huge. When people drive by your place, they remember that they need to do something. If they don’t have time to stop right then, they will often call to see if something is in stock, to make an appointment or some such.

If your number isn’t on the sign, they can’t call or write it down, which means your business gets driven by one more time without someone taking action.

It seems like such a little thing – but I see it SO frequently that I can’t help but wonder if it hurts your business.

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Business Resources Competition Direct Marketing Email marketing Marketing Small Business Technology tracking

Creating the slot machine that never loses

Lobster Slot Machine - Las Vegas
Creative Commons License photo credit: dlr2008

I‘ve had a survey going on the site here for a while. It asks “What’s your biggest marketing challenge?”

25% of respondents have said “Making time to do the marketing”. That tells me that those folks still aren’t tracking the response they get to their marketing.

Why? If your marketing has been successful, then you know that it’s like a slot machine that doesn’t lose.

What I mean by that is that when your marketing is working, you can put $1.29 in and get $2.34 out (or whatever your number is).

So let me get this right… if your marketing efforts (overall) return $1.05 in PROFIT every time you spend $1.29, why wouldn’t your marketing be one of your highest priority tasks? In fact, why wouldn’t it be number one?

Are there other tasks you perform that have a greater return?

Tracking in circles

I realize this is a bit of a circular argument:

  • You: “I don’t spend much time on my marketing cuz I don’t know what works.”
  • Me: “If you start tracking, you will know. Once you know, you’ll understand what works, what doesn’t and it’ll become clear why your marketing is job #1 and how you can outspend your competition on it and still win.”

…and so on.

The only way to get to the point where you can play the slot machine that never loses is by *tracking the response to your marketing*.

I know, we’ve talked about this before. Tracking transforms your marketing from an expense into an investment with a known return.

PLEASE, please start paying specific attention to the performance of your marketing efforts.

Here’s a starting point to find posts at Business is Personal that will help you get started on tracking response: https://www.rescuemarketing.com/blog/?s=response

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Advertising attitude Blogging Competition Corporate America Creativity Direct Marketing Ideas Marketing Public Relations Small Business Social Media Strategy Twitter Video Web 2.0 Word of mouth marketing youtube

Are you wearing Old Spice this morning?

Old spice
Creative Commons License photo credit: blvesboy

There was lots of noise this week when those clever folks managing the Old Spice social media campaign started making dozens of videos for a couple of days.

Old Spice’s team responded to Twitter posts, to Facebook posts, blogs and more, whether the posts came from celebrities or not.

The quickly made videos were funny and appeared to gag YouTube for a bit (might’ve been a coincidence). At any rate, it was a clever campaign to get some buzz about the product.

The other shoe

But did anyone buy Old Spice as a result?

Remember, that’s presumably the goal of running an advertising campaign, regardless of the media used.

What concerns me about actions like this – even though I tell you to have fun in your marketing – is that when a global company like Proctor and Gamble uses social media like this, I’m guessing that someone, somewhere wants to see ROI.

If they don’t, then we’ll have a global corporation (and their ad agency, potentially) pronouncing that “social media doesnt work” to anyone who will listen.

Bottom line: They want to see Old Spice fly off the shelves.

Will P&G be able to tie increased sales (over what period) to this campaign and ONLY this campaign?

I just don’t know, but I doubt it.

Unlike the Will-It-Blend campaign, which demonstrated the toughness of Blendtec’s blenders (essential for the market they serve), this campaign only shows that P&G’s marketing firm is smart, clever and fast on their feet – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

However…It doesn’t prove they know how to sell deodorant, body wash etc.

Don’t fall into that trap, no matter how clever you are.

REQUIRE that your marketing campaigns return a trackable ROI, no matter what the media.

Update: This morning’s article in Fast Company (online, of course) discusses a little of the behind-the-scenes for these videos as well as addressing the question I discussed here today – translating all of this into sales:

One of the questions that keeps coming up is people saying, “Ok, this is great, but will it make me buy more Old Spice?” If you look at the comments that are publicly saying, “I’m going to go and try Old Spice after this, I’m going to wear more Old Spice,” the groundswell of people saying that they are going to consume more Old Spice, I don’t know whether that is true or not, if people are actually going to go to the pharmacy and buy Old Spice, but I bet a whole load of them are going to go into the aisle and take the top off an Old Spice and smell it.

Update: Mashable comes up with some hard numbers related to the videos…but no sales info.

I’m still following this. We’ll see if they have devised a means of bringing this home to the cash register.

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Advertising Business Resources Direct Mail Direct Marketing Email marketing Internet marketing Marketing marketing to the affluent Marketing to women Positioning Small Business Web Analytics

How to get results from newspaper advertising?

This has been in the queue for a while, and the source of the discussion is BizJournals.com, which I’ve read regularly for years (yes, that’s a hint).

While there are some good points in this piece, some parts of it read as if it was written by a Yellow Pages salesperson (not traditionally a person experienced in running a small business, nor in results-oriented marketing).

Here I quote the author’s advice (which isn’t all bad) in plain type and include in bold my thoughts on their “6 fundamental points”.

  1. People buy based on familiarity. That said, the primary value of advertising is branding and name recognition. In other words, you cannot control timing â?? when a person needs what you sell â?? but you can heavily influence who they think of first. This means that you should not invest in any advertising media unless you are willing to commit to a minimum of six months, and preferably a year, of consistent, repetitive messaging to your targeted demographic. Print publications are still king when it comes to reaching the local audience â?? but people need to see your message repeatedly if they are going to remember you when it is time to buy. We’re familiar with a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean we buy them. Give me a compelling case to buy, not “familiarity”.

    No question that timing advertising to purchase time is difficult (exception: search-based advertising), and no doubt, you can and should be invested in influencing who people think of when they consider what you sell (what I call “top of mind” positioning). Consistent messaging to your targeted demographic is part of creating that top-of-mind positioning. This is one of the reasons I remind you to consider using direct mail (among other things).

    But to claim that newspapers do such targeting is crazy in most cases. Further, the implication that you shouldn’t expect success for 6 months to a year is unacceptable. In some markets, large papers (often via national newspaper insertion service vendors) have successfully used insertion technology that lets you target demographics quite narrowly. In most markets, this kind of targeted marketing is not available to newspaper advertisers.

    The real shame is that this kind of targeting does not extend to display ads or classifieds, though given the nature of newspaper print technology, it is understandable. The large service vendors I mentioned above are not built to service your local town daily or weekly newspaper.

    Newspaper advertising performs best in small communities. The why should be obvious and it explains the numbers you see on the continued success of weekly papers vs. big city dailies.

  2. Mix up your marketing channels. Print publications today are the only media resource that can provide you with multiple reach products â?? print ads, inserts, online campaigns, Post-It notes, specialty magazines, etc. â?? in ways that are customized to attain specific marketing objectives.The “only” resource of multiple reach products? Direct mail houses, web designers, email vendors and a number of others would be surprised to learn that. You don’t “mix up your channels” just for the sake of doing so. You choose them strategically. Who reads that? Who watches (and when)? Who listens to that (and when)?

    Each media/each piece, while integrated with the overall plan/message still needs to perform. It still must be measurable and produce a desired result (financial or otherwise). It still must make an offer or induce the next desired behavior.

  3. Work with a qualified expert. A skilled, well-trained newspaper ad rep can replace your need for an ad agency by providing well-designed, targeted ideas to attract new customers to your door â?? at no additional cost to you. While it is true that using their design department can save you some money in the short term, newspaper ad reps are primarily concerned with design from a designer / artistic perspective. Sure, the agent wants you to come back and buy more ads (see #1 above) so they are tangentially vested in your success, but they are not typically well-versed in direct marketing, and have rarely owned their own business. The mindset is important.

    Small business owners know that results are what matter over all else. Winning ad contests and design awards mean nothing if the ad DIDN’T produce an acceptable ROI.

  4. Utilize a combination of print and online media. Contrary to conventional wisdom, newspaper readership is not declining, it is simply migrating. More people are reading the newspaper than ever before; the growth in readership is coming from people who are reading the news online instead of in a print product. The point? Newspapers still deliver excellent results, but you must advertise in both print and online to attain maximum reach of your message. Depends on who you are trying to reach. This has traditionally been the difficult thing about newspaper advertising. They have largely been unable to deliver (and thus charge) for ads (for example) that should be sent only to married women 35-55 with a household income of $xx,xxx or more. Instead, they charge a lower rate to advertise to a large portion (or all) subscribers with very little if any targeting.

    In many cases, a zip code, a specific section or a certain day of the week is the best you can get as far as targeted marketing in much of the newspaper world. In some cases, it’s all or nothing. That’s OK, but you must take that into consideration when designing your ad, much less deciding whether or not to place it.

    To business owners that understand and leverage direct marketing and expect more than the tired “1% is typical” response, the inability to target specific types of readers is not acceptable.

    As for the assertion that readership isn’t declining, ask your newspaper to show you Google Analytics to back up their claim that they are recovering lost print readers via *their* online site. Don’t take no for an answer. Ask for references, as you would with any other advertiser.

    Pick a few ads for similar markets and be sure to choose those whose ads are sized much like yours will be. Call them and pin them down. Ask them if their ad is performing, but don’t settle for “yes”. Ask what the return on investment is. Ask how many new customers the ad brings in each issue (or each week). What are your criteria for calling the ad “successful”?

  5. You will get much better results by running a smaller ad for a longer period of time than by running a large one for a shorter duration. When budgetary constraints are an issue, the duration of the campaign is of paramount importance.In general, I agree with smaller ads for a longer period vs larger ads for a shorter period, but the duration of the campaign isn’t the paramount issue. If you put $10 into an ad and get $20 back each time, wouldn’t you want to run the ad until it stops working? Producing results is what matters.

  6. When using online advertising, always include a link to your website in the form of a â??clickâ? button, and include a special offer in your message. This serves as a portal to drive traffic to your website. A button and a text link should both be tested (response varies depending on the audience). The ad’s job is to get you to do the next thing – click through. The page where the click through goes had better be a specific landing page for that ad’s offer, NOT the home page of the website.

    The landing page is your responsibility. The link is theirs, so make sure they include the right analytics parameters and landing page address so that you can measure response, know exactly where it came from and present the proper in-context offer that matches the ad that the prospect clicked. If the paper wants to send clicks to your main website page, they don’t understand online marketing.

  7. During your ad campaign, change your message every four to six weeks, but always include your logo, and maintain a consistent look to your messages. This serves to reinforce your brand. Remaining consistent is fine as it concerns your logo and look (think “Apple”). However, changing your message just because the calendar says so is foolish. There are successful marketing campaigns that have been in use for decades with only trivial changes after initial fine tuning.

    If your ad is returning 20-30% ROI consistently over a long period, why would you change it just because the calendar said so? When you make changes, test them. Every single one of them. Always be trying to beat the current “best performing” ad, not simply swapping it out because you’re tired of it.

  8. Newspapers employ highly skilled design professionals who create thousands of ads for customers â?? at no cost to you. Work closely with your advertising rep and their design team to create high-quality copy that you can utilize in other marketing efforts for your business. Yes, the newspaper does usually have highly-skilled design pros, but are they highly-skilled / trained in direct marketing as well as graphic design? Hopefully so. Would you rather have an ad that wins design contests or an ad that brings in 10x what it costs each week? Id prefer both, but I’ll choose the 10x response if I can only have one of the two.

  9. Take advantage of appropriate special sections as a â??booster shotâ?? to your overall ad campaign. This is an inexpensive way to reinforce your message in a product that has a highly targeted audience and an extended shelf life. Make sure your message and the audience fit the ideal audience for the special section. Ask for placement in the section that complements what you’re selling.

  10. Be patient. Look at any quick sales that you make as a bonus, but not as the primary measurement of advertising effectiveness. Recognize that it takes time to build brand recognition, particularly if you are a new business or are entering a new market.Horsehockey. This is about setting low expectations so they can sell a long ad placement. There’s nothing wrong with a long ad placement that works. Your ad, your offer should be compelling enough to create business the day it appears. If it doesn’t, then it needs work.

  11. Finally, remember that it is the newspaperâ??s job to bring new customers into your door; it is your job to keep them. Word-of-mouth marketing and repeat customers are the lifeblood of your business. These do not depend on advertising; they depend on your ability to provide an outstanding, memorable experience to your new customer. Advertise to bring them in, and the rest is up to you. Couldn’t agree more.

(end of point/counterpoint)

If you think I’m anti-newspaper, keep in mind that I write a successful newspaper column. I’m not anti-newspaper (and in fact, was recently involved in a successful newspaper insert campaign). However, I am against wasteful, ineffective advertising.

Make your advertising decisions for the right reasons so that you can advertise even more. When you can afford to advertise more than your competitors because every advertising dollar produces positive ROI, you’re on the right track.

Categories
Customer relationships Direct Marketing Internet marketing Marketing Marketing to women Sales Small Business Word of mouth marketing

Does your business fit the Facebook profile?

Facebook
Creative Commons License photo credit: _Max-B

One of the reasons that you see some businesses flocking to Facebook is that their advertising (and sites they connect to) are now capable of scanning your profile’s musical and movie preferences and passing  them anonymously to a site you visit so that selections can be made easier for you.

In markets where a Facebook profile is a good match to your marketing needs, the new profile scanning feature lets Facebook partner sites *anonymously* “see” your likes and use them to fine tune your shopping, listening, viewing and other experiences at other sites – but only if you give your permission (you’ll be prompted at sites which use that data).

It automatically tries to show you stuff that will be of interest, just like a good retail salesperson would. The difference is that it happens online.

The same thing happens in retail businesses and restaurants every day. Think about “Norm” from Cheers. Do you know what he likes to drink? Anyone who has ever watched Cheers – even once – probably knows what he drinks.

If Norm put “beer” in his Facebook profile, would he suddenly become paranoid because a liquor store website automatically showed him the beer page when he opened their site? Probably not.

That’s how this feature works with sites that have this feature setup. This same feature is also the topic of a lot of privacy discussions on the net. More on that shortly.

In your Facebook advertising

Facebook is also launching advertising that is even more context sensitive. Like Google’s Ad Sense ads that appear on pages all over the net, these Facebook ads will come up based on info in your profile and content on the page.

Don’t look at this as a bad thing.

As a business owner, it’s good for you because it allows you to target people more likely to be interested in what you do.

As a purchaser of consumer and business products and services, it means you’ll see fewer ads for junk you have no interest in. Note that I said “fewer” not none.

Despite the fact that I have no need for some products and services; magazines, TV, radio, newspapers and other media sources pound me with ads all the time for things I’ll NEVER buy.

Most of this happens because they don’t pay enough attention to the media buys they make. Too often, they sell the wrong things at the wrong time of day, on the wrong channel/station or in the wrong paper.

That’s one reason why people get tired of advertising – they see messages about things they don’t care about and aren’t interested in, so they see it as noise.

Keep it private

One last comment about all the uproar about Facebook privacy: Why in the world would you post anything on Facebook that you aren’t comfortable sharing with the world? That’s just silly, and no more wise than tossing your checkbook out in the driveway. Share appropriately.

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Advertising attitude Business culture Corporate America Leadership Marketing marketing to the affluent Marketing to women Public Relations Small Business Strategy Tiger Woods Word of mouth marketing

Tiger’s conversation

Nike’s new Tiger Woods advertisement came out just in time for the Masters . . . and not without some controversy.

Some are offended. Some shrug and move on, could either take it or leave it. Some are furious.

For example, Fast Company thinks it might be “too early” or that using the voice of a dead man is offensive.

Me? I think it was a good idea – the fact that most of Madison Avenue seems to dislike it solidifies that feeling.

Where it fails: ROI

Long-time readers will surely ask me where the ROI is – as you should. I hear it. “Where’s the call to action? How do I know this ad produces revenue, or at least – the desired action/result?”

Thats where it fails. Those things will largely be unmeasurable in terms we usually talk about.

Where it works: Outing the obvious

It works because it addresses the obvious right up front. It asks the question a lot of people are probably asking about Tiger – maybe even Tiger himself: “What the heck were you thinking?”

They’re going to think it every time they see his face…until they can figure out the answer to that last question (maybe longer).

A certain # of people could care less what Tiger did. This ad is not for them.

A certain # of people despise him, if not hate the ground he walks on – because of what he did.

A certain # of people may never forgive him, maybe because it forces them to relive a dark period of their own lives, even something that still hurts or angers them.

The ad faces up to that and brings up the elephant in the room that no one else wants to discuss.

Not only does the ad out the obvious – it does so in the context of the man’s father. It’s no secret what his dad did for him.  The voice of the one man (other than his father in law, perhaps) that Tiger would least want to disappoint confronts him in the ad.

To be sure, Tiger’s behavior needs to be demonstrably changed for any of this to make a difference. In the meantime, Nike has chosen well when it comes to dealing with it.

I think there’s a reason for that.

Applicability

When advertisers drop you at the first hint of trouble, it’s a clear sign that you aren’t truly an asset. You’re just a face and a name.

If you look at the vendors who dropped Tiger – regardless of reason – Tiger has no real relationship to the product.

Most corporates run and hide from this sort of trouble. AT&T, Accenture and Buick did.

The thing about Nike is that Tiger actually FITS their products. Meanwhile, why should *anyone* listen to Tiger about buying a Buick or phone service? What does Tiger do to make me want to call in a big NYC consulting firm?

Same answer for both questions: Not one thing.

In Nike’s case, the answer is different.

Nike is all about the mental part of sports. That isnt what they manufacture, but it is what their marketing is totally about.

Address it straightforward. Suck it up, be accountable and go do what you do – with no excuses.

In other words…Just do it.

Nike is all about the conversation going on in the athlete’s head.

Accountability

I like the ad, but the main reason for that has nothing to do with Tiger.

I like it because it does what few big corporates have the nerve to do these days: Face a touchy subject head on. Call for accountability, while sticking with the guy who totally, royally screwed up.

Add to that, they’ve taken a risk. The risk that Tiger isn’t going to self-destruct.

4-5 strokes in the Masters is not what I mean.

If Tiger self-destructs repeatedly, punches a cameraman, and otherwise submarines Nike’s investment, it’ll be mental – which is Nike’s game.

Place your bets

If you think it was humbling standing there filming the ad, think how it is now. Seeing that ad in every airport. Every hotel lobby. Every golf club lounge TV. To see every look come his way from a peer, knowing they think this is a chink in his armor. To see every woman look at him annoyed, disgusted or worse.

Successful people manage to containerize stuff that’s troubling them long enough to accomplish a task.

Can Tiger containerize everything that’s going while standing over a putt on #15, knowing that Arnie and Jack and others are watching – along with millions of others – just waiting for him to crack?

Time will tell.

To me, the Nike ad says “He’s our guy. He screwed up really bad. Even his late father would have been ashamed. BUT…he’s still our guy, and we’ll be right there while he works through it.”

Nike showed some backbone, loyalty and accountability in a time when few corporates will.

Now we’ll see if Woods can live up to that.

Other opinions:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36231746/ns/business-sports_biz/

http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond_madison_ave/news.php/Its-Time-to-Tee-Off-on-Tiger-Woods-and-Nike/?articleID=7184

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Holy cow, I gotta have that!

Rory Sutherland asks how a prospect or customer gets to that place in this 16 minute TED video. Sort of.

How does perceived value impact your business and your clientele’s thinking?

How could it?

It’s not about lying or confusing prospective (and existing) customers.

It’s about making it easier to see the value in what you make or do. You have no more important job and that’s what marketing (and positioning) are all about.

If you sell the best *whatever* in the world but know one seems to know about it, does it really matter how good that *whatever* is?

Making it obvious to the customer why they can’t get to sleep that night without getting their hands on a package of that thing (or service) that you sell. Holy cow, I gotta have that.

Think about it over a bowl of Diamond Shreddies. I suggest the combo pack…