October 3, 2004

Fresh marketing ideas appear out of nowhere.

I was reading an interesting article recently (Business Week) about the resurgence of Procter & Gamble as a marketing powerhouse in a very competitive market. Over the past few years there were a lot of observers that felt the legendary P&G marketing engine had lost its edge. Their efforts were tired and repetitious. Some would even claim they had completely lost the pulse of the current generation of consumers.

Then, under a new CEO, they began to really return to their classic form. Introducing new products faster than their competitors, finding ways to test market at low cost and with fast results (yes, the Internet really works for doing this!), and ensuring that they could deliver a better message to a more targeted audience more often than anyone else. Once again, P&G is at the top of their game.

So, in reading this marketing success story, I began to think about my own marketing challenges. I am not in the consumer product area, so no commercials nor street corner giveaways for me. I market to a select audience and my products are high-price with a long sales cycle (if only I could position .NET on the checkout line next to the mints for $1.99…). I can’t do the types of things that P&G has done to ensure that Crest White Strips are successfully launched. But, I can take inspiration from that.

Suppose, we could sell .NET at the supermarket. How would we do that? What would the packaging look like and what would be the right price point? What kind of marketing activities could drive demand in our target audience? Asking these questions opens up some new lines of thought, some new insights, into how we might be better able to drive demand in our key market. I am not going to give away where this exercise leads for my product set, but there might be some interesting results in this type of exercise for your own products. Treat a consumer product like a specialty item, or a high-ticket luxury item like a commodity. What do you learn from this and how can it make your next campaign better?

Well, off to the grocery store for some eggs, cheetos, and web server software.


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