Marketing Idea No. 60 – Why we confuse marketing with sales

Its a sad scenario. In our country all of the companies have marketing department, but the sole responsibility of almost all of the employees of these departments is selling. Here is a classic case of confusing marketing with selling.

To get the record straight, marketing and selling are not synonimous. Running the risk of incurring the wrath of American Marketing Association, i would like to define the distinction between marketing and selling in the following ways. (These definitions are influenced by similar definitions of Mark Goulston.)

1. Marketing is compelling your customers to come and buy your product

2. Selling is convincing your prospect to buy it

Put in another way

1. Marketing is about creating or aligning the demand / needs of customers with the product

2. Selling is about aligning the product with the customer needs.

Hopefully this will clear up the confusion.


Marketing idea no. 59 – Why defining target audience is a must do

One very difficult question that brand managers have to answer often is, “If your target market is so specifically defined, then how can you actually make profit by selling to a few people?”.

The obvious wayout for most business owners is the ancient formula – appeal to mass people, use mass media and sell to whoever you can.

But one big problem – a brand that appeals to everybody does not really appeal to anybody. Therefore in the long run the brand customer will never be a brand champion or a brand loyal.

Then again the questions haunts back – if my brand appeals to a limited niche, wouldnt it hurt my bottomline? Why cant i sell to everybody, even if he is not in my target audience?

The simple formula to follow is – who you target and who you really sell are two different things. Lets explain it through a very simple example.

1. Nike will always target the young sports enthusiast with a tendency for rebellion. Thats Nike’s target audience.

2. But Nike will not only sell to “young sports enthusiast with a tendency for rebellion”. He will sell to just about anybody who wants to be a “young sports enthusiast with a tendency for rebellion”. That person can be 55 or 80, doesnt matter. So no matter how narrowly you define your TA, you can always sell more. In fact you will always sell outside your TA. But your brand should not try to appeal to everybody.

So the role of a brand is to ALWAYS appeal and be relevant to the target audience only. And that audience needs to be as specifically defined as possible. But that does not mean sales will not come from outside that audience.

Marketing Idea No. 58 – Does product placement work?

This idea is contributed by Rizwana Tasneem

Many advertsiers would like to know the answers to the following questions: Does product placements work? If so, why? If not, why not? If a person sees a movie character sipping Starbucks coffee, will s/he go out and get one? If they see a Survivor contestant gulping down Mountain Dew, will they be inclined to do the same?

Here are some reasons why product placement works:-

1. You can’t veto it out: because it’s part of the actual entertainment

2. It’s not interruptive: viewers aren’t annoyed because their favourite T.V programs are not interrupted and they do not have to wait to go back to what they really wanna watch- the TV show or movie

3. It’s almost like a celebrity endorsement: the viewers think that if these famous people are using it, then they must like it and it must be good

4.The message is subliminal so the filters in our brain that normally weeds out advertising messages don’t step in to block the message. It seeps into our subconscious

Here are some reasons why product placement doesn’t work:-

1. Consumers are not stupid: they know that these brands are paying big bucks to have their products “placed” into the entertainment. They are skeptical and do not buy whatever message the advertiser is trying to get across

2. Consumers feel manipulated: They think that this type of “advertising”is sleazy because it’s not honest. At least in a commercial, the advertiser admits that it’s an ad. However, with product placement, the consumers feel that the advertisre is trying to “put one over” on the consumer.

3. Diminishing ROI: product placement costs are skyrocketing and it’s extremely difficult to measure the effect. So, many advertsiers are thinking whether it’s worth it or not

So, whether product placement works or not, or whether it’s ethical or not is still debatable.  

Marketing Idea No. 57 – Cocktail drink for cosmopolitan crowd

This idea is contributed by Mohammad Jobaed Adnan

For the perennial party animal or the average variety-seeking youth, a cocktail drink is a cool accesory to have ( or drink, to be precise). Be it a simple mixture of Coke, Fanta and Sprite or a more adventurous sorts with exotic mix of soda with other mouth watering flavors…..Cocktail drink in can or pet bottle might be next big “in” thing.

So why not market cocktail version of the soft drinks! Starting from lemonade flavored to cola falovored, this cool mix of sodas can definitely position our stagnant soft drink makers as a innovative brand once again. And its even more essential considering the fact that Carbonated beverage are on the declining side globally. Adding such a buzzworthy product will bring the buzz in the brand.

Marketing idea no. 56 – How to advertise to modern women

To depict women in advertisements, previously it was an either or situation.

A. Either you are showing a mother who only thinks about her child without a care for herself or for that matter anything else

B. Or you are showing the high-heeler wearing a western dress and spinning her web with (or on) the other sex.

But how things have changed! Modern advertisements and modern women have found a new bond…one thats fresh, new and shows a change in people’s mindset.

You always know things have changed when Unilever shows any trend in their branding. Just a few years ago Fair & Lovely preached – get fair and get married. Now they promise – get beautiful and be successful. Now we see Prianka Chopra riding motorcycles and say why should boys have all the fun!

So the big idea is – dont consider women in stereotypical, traditional roles only. The women of this generation have become much more cosmopolitan – but that doesnt mean they will wear business suits in office! (Although a recent telecommunication ad showed a successful corporate executive wearing a business suite and sporting a fake accent). What it means is women are getting into far more demanding and controlling roles. And we, marketers, must take into account this paradigm shift. Otherwise, we will never appeal to this vibrant pink generation.

Marketing Idea No. 55 – Use your business card as a promotional tool

Be it the small start ups or large corporates, local or mutltinationals, puffed up budget owner or cash constraints proprietor – one thing we all need and have is a visiting card. And that small card may just be our biggest selling and brand building tool.


1. It creates an impression. And anything that creates an impression is a brand building tool.

2. It creates the first impression of you. Meaning – it creates the first and last impression about your brand ( If first impression = last impression according to popular saying)

So treat your visiting / business card like its a print ad for your brand. Ensure it upholds your brand promise, sells your product and creates a brand impression. That is more important at times, than saying your website address, your designation and other things.

Marketing Idea No. 54 – 10 deadly marketing sins

From the surface, branding practices in our country falls short of the desired quality in the following ways.  

1.      We give one brand name to all products and extend the brand too far. The name that stands for cement is also applied for milk. At the end that creates confusion only.

2.      Almost all our advertisements are a variation of some sort of jingle-song-dance routine. Nothing stands out and almost nothing delivers a punch.

3.      We think we are smarter than our customers and know more than our customers do, since most of the people in Bangladesh are illiterate or semi literate.

4.      Except technology driven categories like mobile communication, we are inherently, almost criminally less innovative than other countries. If we had things our way, innovation would always be about product variations or upgradings – not about creating breakthrough value.

5.      Although we frequently quote terms like “Short term” and “Long term” in our strategy, almost all our activities are for short term. More importantly, we never quite know exactly what length of time we are referring to by those two terms. What is short term? And what exactly do we mean by long term?

6.      We don’t spend enough time, resource or importance in understanding customer insights. We believe we know our customers well enough to make strategic decisions blindly – without backed by proper data or findings.

7.      We somehow confuse the word “consistency”, the most important preaching of Brand Management, with boredom. We get tired of one advertising message very soon. The marlboro style branding, sending one cowbow style aspirational message for more than 25 years is unthinkable by us.

8.      Almost all company in Bangladesh has a Marketing department, but only a handfull has a Brand department. This shows our focus on branding.

9.      We believe advertising is the only form of selling product in mass market.

10.  We actually perceive branding as an expense, not as an investment 

This again adds to the belief that the solution is not “No Branding”, its lack of “Proper Branding”. We cant really say we don’t need something unless we do it properly.