Marketing Idea No. 50 – How to pitch your message to waiting room customers

Its an unwritten law of urban life – we have to wait in lines no matter what the deed is. Starting from traffic jam to buying movie tickets to health care admission, standing in long lines is a burden we must carry. Some face it with utmost positive attitude and acceptance. While for some….lets just say its not an endeavor they look forward to.

While people’s attitude towards standing in line might vary, the fact its a great marketing opportunity is a sure thing. Marketing and standing in lines? Yes i know how it sounds, but here is how it works. And why.

1. Lines are a great leveler. Be a king or pauper, while standing in lines there is only one thing you can do – wait. Thats why its a great opportunity to pitch your marketing message. As people have very little to do, not to mention very little distractions, they will listen to your message, make more informative calculations per second and if you are lucky, make purchase decisions.

2. How can you do it? The process is simple and varied. You can send your direct sales force and request the people in line to invest some of their time in return for a good benefit. Or you can place your static marketing messages in the form of signage, brochures, fliers and make it visible when people stand in lines. Or you can go radical and transform your message into something that people can enjoy while standing lines. Make a story out of your marketing message and hand it over to people to read and kill time. Make cheap one time use music CDs with advertisements built into it and hand them over with headphones so that people can listen to it while in ‘waiting’ mode. The choices are endless.

Where to attack? Well you can dig your trenches anywhere. In movie theaters, waiting rooms of dentists, hair salon waiting rooms, line in front of embassy and visa processing office – you name it. Anywhere you look there is a line longer than the one you draw that separates your traditional thinking from incredible innovative thinking. You just have to go and stand there. And of course, pitch.

Marketing idea no. 49 – Rickshaw branding

This idea is contributed by Mohammad Jobaed Adnan 

If we think about mass transport then what do we see almost everywhere across the nation? The answer should be “Rickshaw” – the most popular transport for the nation. Dhaka is already known as the city of Rickshaws.

When there is a question about branding on transport it seemes bus was the obvious choice. But how about Rickshaw branding?

There are some fantastic opportunities that rickshaw branding presents

1. In rural areas and small towns rickshaw, not bus, is the mode of transport of choice. So any company willing to increase its presence there, rickshaw should be an automatic favorite.

2. It should be relatively less constly than other forms of transit marketing

3. Of course Rickshaw should be off limit for brands that want to position as luxury, quality or glamourous. But there are some commodity oriented brand who thrives on being positioned as “brand of the common people”. What is a better way of being positioned as a brand of the common people than being exposed into the vehicle of the common people?

4. Rickshaw is a slow moving vehicle. Thats why compared to bus or other vehicles, its visibility and readability will be higher.

So if the next question is, “Why we need to use rickshaw as a media?”, the most appropriate answer will be, “Why not?”

Marketing Idea No. 48 – Dont create buzz that you cant deliver or exceed

Harry Potter and the deathly hallows is the fastest selling book of all time. It sold 8.3 million copies within 24 hours of its launch. It beats the record set by its own predecessor Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince which sold 6.9 million copies in its first 24 hours.

But that is not the biggest success story of this book. Nor is it the biggest lesson that marketers can learn from this book.

The biggest lesson any marketer can learn from this phenomenon comes from J.K. Rowling herself. How & why? Let me ask you this – can you name any product and brand launch in recent times that created this much hype and once it hits the market, the quality of the product meets the quality of the hype? It will only be a handful.

And that is marketing reality for you. We create hype around mediocre products to make it seem like the next big thing. But here comes a book with the world of expectations and surprise, surprise – delivers, if not exceeds the expectations.  And that is the biggest success of this series.

Moral of the story

Get the product quality spot on first. Then make it remarkable. And only then create the hype.

Marketing Idea No. 47 – A New Car for “Lindsay Lohan”- types

Finally a car that can put a rest to drunk driving! Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Ricchie, eat your heart out.

Nissan is testing a new drunk driving prevention technology in Japan, where an on board breathalyzer will sniff the amount of alcohol in driver’s breath. And if the amount is more than what is legally allowed, ignition will be disabled by an interlock mechanism.

Toyota is doing something similar where they will detect unsafe drunk driving by detecting the sweating pattern of the driver and how he is handling the steering wheel.

A big hurrah for Japanese car makers.

Marketing Idea No. 46 – Sell initial products at low price and make money in upgrades

Here’s a selling formula that works miracle

1. Sell the initial products at a very low price (But not for free. That would not work)

2. Get the customers “habituated’ with your product. So that when the time comes for replacing / upgrading your product, he feels compelled to stick with you

3. Set a high price for the replacements, supplements and upgrades of that product, skim the market and make money.

This is a formula made world famous by PC industry. But it works for most of the technology companies, as well as non-technical ones. And much to the delight of manufacturers, it really makes a lot of business sense and keeps the cash registrar ringing.

One note of caution – Dont give your product away. The product that is available for free for customers does not create any emotional attachment. So he can replace it without much heartbreak.

Marketing Idea No. 45 – A Super Shop That Will Carry the “Number 1” brands only

Departmental stores and super shops contain a number of brands in every product category, so that customers can choose from a wide range. However, there are three downsides of this strategy

1. Total inventory cost is very high

2. Sometimes customers get bewildered with the bedazzling array of choices

3. Every super shops follow the same appraoch. So where is the differentiating factor?

Holding that thought in mind, we can introduce a shop or super store which will carry only the Number 1 selling brand of each category. Sounds limiting? Well, think about it.Think about how much you can reduce your inventory cost. Think about how much you can reduce your dependence on supply chain problems. And that is only one benefit. There is more.

If customers want to choose from a wide range, go to Agora or other super shop. But if you want to buy the best brand, just to come to our store. We have pre-selected it for you. Customers will be happy as they will automatically know they are buying the best from the best. The quality check is already done by the retailer on behalf of the customer.

But more importantly, this super shop or departmental store will STAND OUT in the sea of stores. And that in itself is a priceless value addition.

Marketing Idea No. 44 – Use multiple channels to sell your product, not just one

Its very difficult to remove the number 1 company from its leader position, once he is there. Ask Pepsi. They have been trying their heart out for more than 100 years!

If we study history of brand warfare, only a handful of brands have done the unthinkable – dislodging the champion brand from its post and being the new number 1 brand. And none of it is more astonishing than HP becoming number 1, removing Dell from its spot.

What went wrong in Dell?

One of the main reasons were Dells obsession of selling directly to the customers. Its ironic that the main reason which made Dell the dirling of Wall Street is the same reason that caused Dell’s downfall. As Dell placed all its bet on one distributional channel, HP was forging unique partnerships with other channel members and slowly but surely overtook them.

Moral of the story – Dont place all your bananas in one basket. Use multiple channels to sell your product. And dont become too much in love with history. What is your strength in one decade may be the cause of your ruins in the next.