The Marketing Intern

Outside the Box / Inside the Cubicle

The Top 5 Things B2C Marketers Should Never Ever Do

Posted by The Marketing Intern on August 3, 2009

Sometimes Ill get going down a hill, throw it in neutral, and jump in the kayak. You should hear em scream and run for cover.

Sometimes I'll get going down a hill, throw it in neutral, and jump in the kayak. You should hear 'em scream and run for cover.

As so frequently happens on the weekends, I was inspired by beer. Often times this inspiration manifests itself by insisting that it is possible to jump from the roof of a two-family split-level, dressed as a bumble bee, into a 12″ pool of water and survive — and then setting out to prove it — but this weekend’s manifestation was, to the delight of my insurance company, more business-oriented.

(As it happens, the beer that inspired this revelation was American Darling by Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Inc. If you haven’t checked out this brewery [which isn’t really a brewery] yet, you need to — Jack D’Or is the best beer I’ve ever had in my life, and that’s saying something.)

(Oh, and for the record, I’m not saying Pretty Things does a bad job of marketing — this just happened to be the thought this  particular beer inspired. As I’m sure the brewers at Pretty Things will confirm, inspiration works in mysterious ways.)

Here are the top five things that marketers should never do. NEVER:

1) Be Reckless with Diction. I cannot for the life of me understand why marketers and so-called PR “professionals” insist on using words like “cutting edge” and “industry-standard.” What, exactly, is a mission-critical, industry-standard, cutting-edge, innovative piece of technology on the forefront of the next generation of  the digital revolution? (I wrote that sentence with one hand. The other one was clamped over my mouth, preventing me from tossing up lunch.) If you want to make your company sound interesting, stop using phrases that have been  used a thousand times before. I would rather read corny made up phrases like “Apple-oution” or “Ciscosity” than read the words “leaders in the X industry” ever again.

2) Forget How the Customer Uses Your Product. See, if I say here that lots of marketers forget the needs of the customer, or forget the quality of life that your product could potentially provide for the customer, that would seem obvious. No, instead I’ll point out the simple fact that marketers all too often forget about the user interface. Sure, your product is powerful. Sure, it represents a shift in the way that people will do business with each other. Sure, it may even change the face of the Internet and the world as we know it. But if it sounds important, it’s probably complicated. Don’t forget to remind your customer that it’s not.

3) Worry About Price When You’re Selling Ideas. If you’re a tee-shirt manufacturer, you’re probably pissed at Ed Hardy for their ability to sell tee-shirts for hundreds of dollars when you’re charging maybe $20 a pop. But if this is the case, Ed Hardy is really good at doing something that you’re not good at (yet): selling ideas. Ed Hardy has brought the neo-punk tattoo culture to urban, mainstream America. Hardy doesn’t sell tee-shirts; it sells admission into this culture. How much would you pay for that? A considerable amount more than you’d pay for a tee-shirt.

4) Insult My Intelligence. If you’re trying to sell mobile multimedia subscriptions by hooking me into some stupid Facebook game and tricking me into agreeing to a $20-per-month plan from which I will derive absolutely no value, I’m probably going to sniff it out. Now, whether or not I (and when I say “I,” I mean the average consumer) will sign a contract for said plan in order to play the aforementioned game is irrelevant. The point is that if you want something from me (like $20 a month), ask me for it, and then tell me what I’m getting in return. And don’t do it in the fine print.

5) Try to Create a Community of Customers. These communities will form on their own. What you can do is provide a space for this to happen. Ask for it to happen — try UGC video contests, tweetups, and other social, customer-first initiatives. Daimler-Chrysler’s Jeep brand has “National Take Your Top Off Day,” a day dedicated to taking down the soft-top on your Wrangler. These events draw thousands of people to events across the country. There’s no incentive, really, other than the sense of camaraderie. I don’t believe it was even started by D-C, in fact; I think it was entirely customer oriented. But the brand allows for that kind of social interaction, and Jeep allows it to happen.

For the record, yes, I take my top off frequently. I know you were wondering.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: