Tag Archives: behaviorial marketing

the anti lemmings

While mass communication has become more individualized and singular in focus, there’s still a feeling, that in order to have any effect, you have to spread your message to thousands (millions?).

That’s not always true. You don’t need a big crowd. You just need a dedicated group of people who are willing to listen.

That group of dedicated followers is always in the crowd. That’s why the big message always works. You’re just spending lots of money and time to identify those dedicated people out of the masses.

So why spend the money and the time on the whole crowd if you’re just needing the smaller group? It’s because of the natural inborn reaction to see the big crowd and run toward it hoping to get in on the attention. But in reality, many times you’ll have better luck going against the crowd.

One of the tricks of avoiding lines at big venues is to turn left whenever possible because most people are right-handed and insinctively go right instead of left.

I have always advised clients and placed my own media buys counter to the market. I love to run radio in the 1st quarter. I design negative space print ads. I never advertise between September and November in an election year.

In the past week, I’ve been able to connect with other people who were not at SXSW because we were all sitting on the sidelines.

From today until Sunday, you can garner attention from those people not interested in college basketball.

Don’t run with the lemmings. Don’t go toward the light. Find the smart place where everybody doesn’t go. It’s a lot less crowded away from the crowd. You’ll find people who will pay attention.

Death and Taxes

Just when you get sick of Santa Claus in every ad…here comes Uncle Sam and April 15.

This year, more than ever, I’ve seen a huge marketing push for the BIG REFUND. If you go to this tax preparer, they promise a huge refund….If you go to another preparer, they have a contest that you can win double your refund…etc…etc.

The thing is…a good tax preparer makes sure you DONT get a refund.

If you get a BIG refund, it means that you gave the government a BIG interest-free loan with your money. Money that you could have used to invest or just spend. A good tax advisor should work with clients to have the correct amount withheld or quarterlies paid throughout the year so that there is only a small amount to deal with at the end. (refund or payment)

But, in the US, it’s a public lie that the big refund is a good thing. So in the meantime, H&R Block, TurboTax, and all the paycheck cashing ripoffs continue to market to the ignorance of the masses. Sadly, it’s good marketing because it plays to the beliefs of the audience.


Marketing Lies

Monday is Columbus Day…commemorating the date that Christopher Columbus “discovered America”.

I’m sure the Native Americans, Joao Vaz Corte-Real, Leif Ericson, John Cabot, Amerigo Vespucci, and others would debate the validity of that claim. And yet if you ask any person on the street who discovered America, they will respond “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

It’s a lie that has become the truth. It’s a “public lie“. Something everyone knows, but is wrong.

There are lots of group lies that have some basis in truth…
–German Chocolate Cake is named for a man…not the country.
–Everyone didn’t drink the Kool-Aid at Jonestown…it was Flavor-Aid
–Fortune Cookies were invented in America…Chinese people have no idea what they are
–Not all animals went onto the ark in 2s…some went in 7s (the clean animals)

Once a public lie gets into the Collective’s head…nothing will change that perception…not even the truth. Just try to convince someone that Columbus didn’t discover America.

Public lies used to spread slowly. Now, they spread in hours in forwarded e-mail.

This is not such a big issue when dealing with German Chocolate Cake and Columbus, but it’s a big deal when marketing.

Look at comments on Amazon.com or TripAdvisor.com. Look at the blog killing of the Kryptonite Lock. The voice of the “crowd” is getting louder and the voice of the “marketing message” is getting dimmer.

And while there is wisdom in crowds, there is also downright stupidity. As a marketer, you MUST control where the crowd is going.

Think about that as you decorate you Columbus tree.

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