Marketing Idea No. 190 – Location, location location

You may not have an earth-shattering product or something new to offer. But heres something you can do to sell more products. Find a great location.

In real estate, the wisdom of locational advantage is THE truth to stand by. But the same strategy can be applied to any business category. Especially since, whether you like it or not, your budget is limited.

How does it work? If you have a limited amount of money and not a great product idea, just spend the money on finding a great location. The sameness of your product will matter little if you can choose a location that can work for you. In fact, if you are really shrewd, you can even charge more for the same product if you choose your location wisely.

The coffee shop in Waterloo station in London will sell more coffee at higher price than anywhere else. Why? Because it has a great location.  Because of the location the next coffee shop is nowhere near…which guarantees the early morning rush of office goers couldnt care less for the extra 10p they are paying for the coffee.

The same way it makes sense to have a cake shop near Dhaka university. They are always celebrating something….where would they find good cake nearby? Same way its a great idea to have a supershop in Old Dhaka, a Kebab shop in Badda or a Pizza Hut outlet in Shylet.

So if you lack a great product or business idea, simply find a great location. Even if you have to pay more to acquire that location, go for it.

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Marketing Idea No. 189 – How not to do an anti-smoking campaign

Ever wondered why no one bothers to care about the health warnings written on top of the cigarette packet? Have you, like me scratched your head often, thinking why after seeing such in your face messages, number of smokers are increasing every waking, smoking minute?

Here’s a scientific, more appropriately, neuro-scientific answer.

Using sophisticated brain scanning technology to peer inside the brains of 2,000 consumers around the world, a team of neuroscientists have made an astonishing finding.

Those often gruesome health warnings printed on billions of cigarette packs have proven to have the opposite effect on consumers than intended. They stimulate smokers to smoke even more. By scanning consumers’ brains in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and China, Lindstrom has discovered that even anti-smoking TV commercials seems to have the reverse effect.

Now, why arent we surprised?

Marketing Idea No. 188 – Subliminal Marketing

In 1957, when a market researcher named James Vicary claimed that a lightning-quick image of a Coca-Cola bottle—flashed for less than 1/3000th of a second on a movie screen—was enough to make the audience rush to the concession stand for a Coke, America was shocked and alarmed. If marketers could use hidden messages to get us to buy, couldn’t other nefarious forces use similar tactics to psychologically manipulate our behavior? The term ‘subliminal advertising’ was coined, and its practice was quickly banned in 1957. Since then, no-one has explored the potential influence of subliminal advertising.

Its potential negative benefits probably outweigh the positives, but one can wonder the power subliminal messages could have had in our overcluttered market space.

Marketing Idea No. 187 – What does religion and brand marketing have in common?

It is probably one of the most controversial scientific findings of 2008.

In his $7 million neuroscience-based research study, Martin Lindstrom, one of the most famous brand gurus of our time, has spent over four years peering into the minds of 2,000 consumers across five countries to discover if there’s a parallel between brands and religion. From that it was revealed that brands indeed activate the same areas in the brain as religion. By analyzing brands like Harley Davidson, Apple, Guinness and hundreds of other commercial icons, Lindstrom discovered that we are hardwired to believe in some brands. Lindstrom went further, interviewing religious leaders from across faiths and cultures. He discovered that the ingredients that create powerful religions may also be invaluable for branding of the future.

This finding gives birth to some seriously interesting and in your face questions.

What connection, if any, exists between religion and our buying behavior? Are there similarities between the way our brains respond to religious and spiritual symbols, and the way they react to products or brands? Could certain products inspire the same sense of devotion and loyalty in us, as provoked by faith or religion? Might companies borrow from the world of religion when advertising their products?

The answer will probably change the way we see brand marketing forever.

Marketing Idea No. 186 – SLIPSTREAMING

Excerpts from the writing of Rajita Chaudhuri

Slipstreaming, by definition, means a vacuum of air created behind a fast moving vehicle. When a speeding car zips past, the bystander feels a powerful wall of air that can almost blow one over. Motor racers know the moment you get too close to this force, there will be little wind resistance, so you get “sucked” along by the slipstream.

According to Max Sutherland, the author of the book ‘Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer’, one can use the “slipstream” phenomena in advertising also. So advertisers tend to keep a lookout for top news stories – essentially those stories that get a lot of publicity and are clearly the most talked about and sometimes even gossiped about. Then, if one reworks their brand slogan in such a way that it gets linked to the top story, the consumer is bound to notice it and give it more attention over and above the regular advertising clutter.

One company that has been doing this kind of slipstream advertising is Energizer batteries. It has used its slogan, “Are you power mad,” to fit various topical stories and news headlines. In 2003, when the Chelsea Football club was buying soccer players left, right and centre, Energizer used the story to popularise its slogan – “Are you power mad?” Next, when there was a power struggle between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair for the hotseat at 10 Downing Street, Energizer featured a cartoon showing Gordon Brown changing the number of his house on Downing Street to “10” and the caption “Are you power mad?” fitted just perfectly!

Marketing Idea No. 185 – How to grow a paparazzi business

Strike a pose. Here comes the paparazzi.

Being “papped” by the paparazzi is an honor no longer limited for the famous. A NY-based business called Methodlzaz has cottoned on to the public’s craving for unposed shots and now takes requests from ordinary folk. On request, Methodlzaz will send a photographer to secretly take paparazzi style photograph of clients going about their daily business.  To arrange the service all you have to do is to submit a photo along with details of your daily schedule and nominate a certain mood that you’d like immortalised on film.

So if you ever wondered what it feels like being a celebrity, hounded by paparazzi, this is your chance.

Marketing idea no. 184 – Can you define your business?

Its like what they say in high school essays. If you cant tell what what you are doing, then chances are you dont really know what you are doing.

Do you know what you are doing? Let me re-phrase that. Do you what business you are in?

There are some famous examples of how businesses are defined in interesting ways. Revlon famously said that they are not in the business of selling lipstick. They are in the business of selling hope. Castrol said they are not in the business of selling oil. They are in the business of selling liquid engineering consultancy. Xerox dont define them as the photocopy machine supplying company. They are the ultimate document providing company.

But the most famous example of them all is the one Ray Kroc, CEO, provided of McDonalds. When he asked people while taking a session what do they think McDonalds business is, the obvious answer was on the tip of the tongue “Hamburger”. But Ray Kroc said no of course. According to him McDonalds is in real estate business. The location and number of real estate company that they hold makes Mcdonalds the biggest and most lucrative real estate holding company in the world. In fact in terms of number of acres of land that one company holds, McDonalds is the biggest in the world, surpassing even The Roman Catholic Church.

So what lessons can we draw from this? We know how not to rest upon the obvious answers. Try to find out the DNA of your business, the hidden opportunities or assets that you possess. Because just like how you educate a baby ensures his future growth – how you define your business often paves the way towards how your business will grow.