Archive for July, 2011

What happens when the landscape changes?

DATE: July 28th, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about the influence of technology. At risk of being reductive, I wonder if it’s make idiots of us. It may be my own reading choices — but it seems that marketers are obsessed with social media, as if it will solve all marketing challenges.

Everything has changed — and nothing has changed.

Bottom line: know your audience; know your product; position your product.

Social media, online, print, digital, media, alternative…. are tayctics, not strategies.

Marketing Genius cited Kodak as a company that knew their product, owned the space, but got lost inthe digital revolution. The changes in their audience, technology, society and economy required a change in their position. The case study tweaked my interest. Because there are a lot of products that have lasted through many decades without really changing the product. They have stayed relevant by advertising re-positioned the product, re-delivering the cool aspect.

Take Jell-O.

In 1902 the company used the tagline “America’s Most Famous Dessert.” In 1904 the advertising genius of Jell-O took hold of their audience and positioned their product: “You can’t be a kid without it.” For more than 100 years Jell-O has captured the imagination of the child in each of us — even though green Jell-O chocked full of cabbage and carrots rarely graces our Thanksgiving table, the company boasts more than 158 products and sells 300 million boxes of gelatin in the US alone, each year.

Ads went from an illustration of a child to Kewpie dolls in 1908. In 1912 they added celebrities like Ethel Barrymore. In the first quarter of the 20th century, new immigrants entering Ellis Island in New York were served Jell-O as their “Welcome to America.” In the 20’s Jell-O started to appear in Norman Rockwell paintings, illustrating the life of the average American. In the 30’s Jell-O teamed with the Wizard of OZ brand, attracting the imagination of children and adults alike. During the second world war, Jell-O picked up the theme of shortages and published a little booklet of recipes called “Bright Spots for Wartime Meals _ 66 Ration-Wise Recipes.” In the fifties Jell-O became a festive meal trend setter (anyone born between 1945 and 165 has experienced Jell-O melting into the turkey on holiday meals). They also advertised Jell-O as a “trim” dessert. In the sixties Jell-O was positioned for the working woman, with shortcuts for the busy mother. In the seventies, Bill Cosby and Jell-O united in a long and profitable relationship.

My point?

Jell-O’s marketing team understands their audience, their product and the value proposition that positions them for increased sales

Today’s marketers are a-flutter with social media tolls and mobile applications. As if jumping on the bandwagon of the social launch will be the golden egg. Not wanting to dispel the myth of th golden egg right out of hand, but marketers need to apply the same due diligenceto social media and mobile as to traditional marketing.

Knowing your value proposition is king. Positioning your products in the market is more important than ever. Understand that you have a distinct audience. They value your product, yourservices. Position from their perspective not yours.