Thursday, 31 January 2013

what Puff Daddy could teach us about marketing

Back in 2007 French luxury Vodka brand Ciroc was selling just 120,000 cases of its product in the US - just 3% of their main rivals in the market, Grey Goose.

Yet fast forward five years and that figure has increased to a whopping 2 million, with profits at the company, unsurprisingly, reflecting that success. So what happened to turn their fortunes around?

What happened was Sean 'Puffy' Combes - rapper, record producer, media executive, musician, actor, and entrepreneur - became their head of marketing. In fact he even had business cards made stating he was full time chief marketing officer and brand manager of Ciroc.

His salary? 50% of the brand's profits each year following his arrival.

Puffy set about working with his own marketing company to develop the 'art of celebration' positioning, and understanding that existing drinkers of ultra premium vodka were brand loyal, started to target new, younger drinkers who were just starting to alter their drinking habits.

Coupled with integrated campaigns that included events, PR, advertising, product placement, digital and outdoor the brand started to build a reputation for celebration and celebrity.

Puffy was dismissive of the approach traditional brand building agencies employed stating "Everybody has their marketing lingo but I'm about results".

So whether you are running a bus company or a train company, if you understand people and the part your product can play in their lives, common sense says you can go far in the world of marketing. 

And that is what marketing can learn from Mr Diddy*.

*other names for Mr Diddy are available.

Friday, 25 January 2013

do your staff practise what you preach?

To my knowledge all bus and train operators offer all staff (and often immediate families) free travel on their own services.

Yet whenever I have a meeting at a client's offices, the cars parks (of bus companies especially) are usually packed to the rafters with vehicles of all shapes and sizes. These are people who choose to take their car to work yet have the option to get there for free. A strange choice?

Should they have a sense of loyalty to the product/brand they are paid to represent or should they be free to do as you choose? In reality, it's always going to be the latter.

Although it surprises me that more workers don't take advantage of this particular staff benefit, one can imagine they have the same reasons for not taking the train/bus/tram as everyone else - lack of flexibility, timing issues and dislike of the product itself.

So if you can't convince your own employees to do it for free, you've got to work damn hard to convince the public to pay for it.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

the real job of your ad agency

When push comes to shove what do you want your advertising agency to do?

Let's say you have £1,000,000 tied up in your company and suddenly your advertising isn't working and sales are going down. And everything depends on it. Your future depends on it, your family's future depends on it, other people's families depend on it. 

Now, what do you want from your agency? Fine writing? Or do you want to see that sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?

Thought so.

Monday, 7 January 2013

this man sells fish unlike any other

Companies spend millions trying making their products stand out in a crowded market place, and getting people to remember their messages.

And even then it may not succeed.

Sometimes, however, it can be done not by out-spending the competition but by out-thinking them.
Nowhere is this principle displayed more effectively than with the video below displaying the sales pitch of the now infamous 'One pound fish' man.

His brief to himself? 'Promote my two £1 fish offers (fish for £1 and 6 pieces for £5) to passing potential customers and raise the public profile of my fish stall'. Thanks to mobile phones and social media, you could say his return on investment has been pretty impressive for at least half of his objectives.

Subsequently he has recorded a song and had it released on iTunes, received over 13 million views of his official video on YouTube, over 8 million views of this clip, appeared on Soccer AM and been interviewed by BBC World News, The Xtra Factor and AlJazeera TV among others.

Not a bad effort to be fair so let's hope he's sold some more fish too.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

why do bus companies neglect January?

Every Xmas without fail, bus operators produce marketing campaigns encouraging people to use their product over the festive season.

The message is along the lines of 'enjoy yourself over Xmas and New Year while we ferry you about', perhaps sometimes coupled with a price promotion and usually appear for month of December. For the marketing tick box, it's the budget spent and a good job done.

However, for me, spending lots of money for this period is slightly misguided.

Xmas is the one time of year when people are likely to switch transport modes anyhow - without too much encouragement. Everyone gets more opportunities go out and enjoy themselves socially so bus travel, albeit briefly, becomes a bit more attractive. Yet the marketing budget gets a good going over for little long term benefit to the company.

But what happens come January? In our neck of the woods, not a lot.

January is a time when many people have the best intentions of changing their lifestyle plans for the better, yet how many ad campaigns can be seen around now? Perhaps I'm being naive but surely there is an opportunity here somewhere.

So why not spend a little less, when everyone is spending a little more - and use the saving to make January a key part of your marketing plan? As the gents at Apple say, Think different.