Saturday, November 16, 2013

Marketing (Know Your Enemy)

"Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service."

They’re everywhere and they are out to separate you from your money. They are some of the smartest most creative people on the planet, backed by best high technology money can buy, psychologists, statisticians, and sociologists. They are watching you, studying your behavior, and planting their messages deep in your mind.

Outdoor Advertising
Newspaper Advertising
Magazine Advertising
Direct Mail
Radio Advertising
Television Advertising
Internet Banner Ads
Email Advertising
Social Media Advertising

I just read that the total amount of money spent on advertising in 2011 was $464,000,000,000. That is 464 Billion; with a B dollars. This money was spent by flinty eyed, hard nosed businessmen for one reason. It works. Of course they want your undivided attention. They want to tell their story. They do not want you to dump spam emails without opening them, but they do not need your undivided attention. Radio ads are subconsciously delivering their message even as your mind is focused on something else. Certain ads intentionally distract your mind to subconsciously deliver the message. Men, consider beer ads that feature bikini girls jumping around in front of flashing lights. You are not paying attention to the message but it is registering in your brain. Women, whenever you see a strong handsome man holding a baby or playing with a little puppy, someone is coming after your money.

"Data mining (the analysis step of the "Knowledge Discovery in Databases" process, or KDD), an interdisciplinary subfield of computer science, is the computational process of discovering patterns in large data sets involving methods at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics, and database systems. The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use. Aside from the raw analysis step, it involves database and data management aspects, data pre-processing, model and inference considerations, interestingness metrics, complexity considerations, post-processing of discovered structures, visualization, and online updating."

According to a 2009 article from the New York Times entitled “What Does Your Credit Card Company Know About You?” the data mining revolution began back in 2002 at Canadian Tire. One of their executives, J.P. Martin began to analyze every single credit card transaction from the previous year. As he sorted through this data he discovered our purchases were “a window into our souls.” What we bought as well as the brands we bought were in and of themselves very good predictors of our willingness to pay off our debts. Some his discoveries seem pretty funny, “People who bought carbon-monoxide monitors for their homes or those little felt pads that stop chair legs from scratching the floor almost never missed payments. Anyone who purchased a chrome-skull car accessory or a “Mega Thruster Exhaust System” was pretty likely to miss paying his bill eventually.”

Every time you walk into their store, every time you use your credit card, or one of those loyalty cards that hang from your key ring, they are watching you. They have more time and money to study you and modify your behavior than you have to study them. They even have a given this field of study a name, predictive analytics. It is being used by politicians, football coaches, as well as every major retailer in America. The ultimate goal, the brass ring of this discipline is identifying and capturing your mind at key turning points in your life, when you break old patterns and start new patterns. If they lock you into a new pattern, they have you for years. When we are presented with a new challenge, like running a maze for a piece of cheese, our brains are working overtime. We are presented with a trigger, the maze, then we begin an activity, exploring the maze, this results in a reward, cheese. As we are repeatedly exposed to this same pattern, over time we put our brains on autopilot, just living and reliving the activities of everyday life.

“Marketers must shift their focus entirely from “telling and selling” to “listening and learning.” Customers do not want marketing relationships with your company they want service relationships.”
Hans Peter Brondmo

This quote captures the essence of what is called new paradigm sales, a theory that begins with the notion that every person has his own values and goals. These are not the same as your values and goal but they are every bit as valid and valuable to him/her as yours are to you. These techniques require a marketer to listen to the needs the prospective client. Rather than pitching a product, you as the facilitator allow the customer control of the content of the conversation. In this model the sales person controls only the structure of the conversation, allowing the customer the opportunity to discover her own needs through carefully constructed questions that lead the client to a conclusion that makes them believe buying from you is safe. The goal for the new model marketer is not to treat every prospect as a potential sale but to treat every prospect as a potential profitable relationship.

The utilization of social media, such as Facebook or Twitter is still in its infancy but consider how much information is available, personal information. Right now companies are just using banner ads and an occasion “like this” ad in your stream. If you like it, they spam you. Sooner or later, they will get smart and begin to tailor what you see to who you are. Remember, you are the only product that Facebook has to sell to its real customers, the ones who pay the bills. Consider, what if a really smart marketer determined I was interested in investments from data mining my Facebook page. He already knows my age. He could learn from my posts that I am retired. How valuable is that information?

The best marketing organizations already understand retention is the name of the game. This has been called “Thank you” marketing. The casinos in Las Vegas have been living on this for years. Their best customers receive a limousine ride to their local airport where a private jet will whisk them to Las Vegas at no charge. Even when a really small time gambler who worked in my office went on an annual trip with his buddies to a second tier casino in Vegas they upgraded their rooms, gave them money to put in the slot machines, and discount coupons for their meals. Loyalty card programs are beginning to offer coupons that you might actually want to use based on your buying patterns. Say you buy a bag of coffee every two weeks. Right before they think you will be buying your next bag of coffee, you will magically receive a discount coupon for a more expensive brand. As the use of Facebook or Twitter or the “next big thing” become more sophisticated, thank you marketing will become more personal and more important.

This is for churches.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?"
Luke 15:4

Some marketers have even figured out the parable of the lost sheep. Why would the good shepherd leave the ninety and the nine to waste his time on the one? This doesn’t make any sense. Why would Steve Wynn, one of the men who built Las Vegas, celebrate and reward his employees when they engage in this kind of activity. Why would the Internet millionaire, Gary Vaynerchuk, tell stories about giving ridiculous levels of personal service even when it does not make any financial sense? They understand it isn’t about the lost sheep. It is about the ninety and the nine who are talking with their friends in person, on Twitter, or Facebook. How many thousands could ultimately hear your story because, just for a couple of hours, you left the ninety and the nine?

These very smart men know there is another Bible verse that applies the shepherds who understand the parable of the lost sheep.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10: 27


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Haha, we're not all flinty-eyed and hard-nosed. I market products to people because I believe those products can add value to their lives. And a lot of them personally thank me for it.

    As far as Facebook goes, we don't need to go to your profile to target you. Facebook already made that part easy for us. When we create ads, we can laser target demographics you wouldn't even think existed. I can make ads aimed specifically at people who like Nelson Mandela on FB if I want.

  3. Delivering value is ultimately the only thing that will keep a company in business. As far as Facebook goes, if I had known that you can already laser target demographics I would have included it in my post. Thanks for adding to my argument.