For better or worse

Here is my very crude mock up of what I think we’ll be seeing real soon:
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(click to enlarge)

Would this be a testament to great marketing or our love for the superfluous?

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The “movie” in my head

Often times you’ll finish watching a movie and remark, “that movie was good but I liked the book better.” Why is that? I think there may be a number of reasons but one reason in particular seems very fitting.

Maybe it’s just me, but the “movie” in my head that plays as I read a book blows away most movie director interpretations. As I read, I vividly capture the look and mood of each character and the surroundings as I see it. The “movie” I watch in my head is my interpretation and therefore is customized to me.

So what does this have to do with marketing? Often times while experiencing your product, a consumer will also play a “movie” in their heads. A young teenager at the Apple store will picture in her mind showing her friends the latest iPod and the associated feelings of being part of the “in” crowd. An otherwise stuffy accountant may imagine himself on his new Harley Davidson and the feeling of freedom. A mother may vividly picture herself in her new home with her children surrounding her by the fireplace as she reads them a bedtime story. My own “movie” showing my hopes and aspirations is better than any marketer could ever dream of because it’s my fantasy and it is personalized and customized to me.

Sometimes as marketers it’s best to involve ourselves as little as possible with the consumer movie making process. Sure, we must give them something worthy of a dream. And like any great storyteller, we must suggest tangible imagery that conjures up vivid and relevant desires in the mind. However, once this is done, my advice is to get out of the way and let the consumer customize her own movie.

Stop the crummy commercials

Watching the movie A Christmas Story during this Christmas season has reminded me how important having a meaningful dialogue with your customers can be.

You’ll remember in the 1983 movie Ralphie drinks gallons of Ovaltine and patiently awaits his Little Orphan Annie decoder pin so that he can unscramble the message only meant for Little Orphan Annie Secret Society members. After excitedly writing down the secret code from the radio program, Ralphie escapes to decode the message in the only place where a kid can get some privacy…the bathroom. Ralphie decodes the message: “BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR OVALTINE” after which he disappointedly exclaims:

Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a b****!

Marketers can learn a lot from Ralphie’s experience.

When you have your customer’s trust and approval for a two-way conversation, don’t revert back to more monologue!(self-serving, crummy commercials) Effective marketers know that having a meaningful dialogue with their customers is what builds a strong connection to their brand. True dialogue should create value for both the marketer and the customer. In order to do this, marketers need to do three things:

  1. Listen more than you speak
  2. Understand the customer’s point of view from a micro level (see point 1)
  3. Turn off the corporate conversation “firewall” to allow authentic and interesting conversation to reach the customer

Customers are begging to have meaningful conversations with brands they love and trust. Please, please, please…stop with the “crummy commercials”!

Life advice from Rocky Balboa

The new Rocky Balboa movie comes out today. When Sylvester Stallone was deciding whether or not to make another Rocky film, his wife and others begged him not to do the movie saying that he would only make a fool of himself. In response, he said:

I’d rather do something I love badly than to feel bad about not doing something I love

(I think it’s also a quote in the movie)

You said it Rocky!