Monday, October 5, 2009
I used to work with a guy named Frank.
Frank used to say that the difference between marketing and sales is that sales is trying to find someone to buy whatever it is you have to sell, while marketing is finding a need and filling it. Hold that thought, because I'm going to cleverly fold Frank into this an inch or so down the page.
This time of year, folks are putting together 2010 budgets, and I read about and/or hear of people who say with all certain confidence that they are "putting the whole budget into the web". Or not wasting money on print. Or "going to just do television this year." Or plan to do nothing more than direct mail.
Then again, there are those who do a media budget based strictly on how much they have to spend. This media being less expensive than that media, we'll go heavy up on that.
Personally, and I suppose institutionally at N+H, I / we think that's usually nuts. The place to start is with your brand. (Surprisingly, there are those who don't really know what their "brand" is. Some may even think it's their logo, but that's a discussion for another day. With beers.)
The way I see it, your brand is going to tell you who your target is.
Ok, on Frank. I think assuming you're looking to start a new company or develop a new product line, Frank was right. We were both working at an aluminum company at the time and we were introducing a new product of some sort. It was developed with a need in mind. But if I'd known then what I know now about brand development, I'd have pushed for developing the product brand before we promoted it.
But for most companies, you is what you is. (Or as Popeye would say "I yam what I yam". And Peter Tosh would have said "I am that I am, I am I am I am." Just so you know.)
I think that if you have a clear brand (see our web site for more of a brand discussion) your primary, secondary and tertiary target audiences become pretty clear. For example, developing a media plan for your restaurant that will run in regional buys of Maxim, Penthouse and Lowrider Girls when you have the most comprehensive Kid's Menu in seven states and never quite got around to getting that liquor license could be a mistake. That's an extreme example, I know, but I thought it was funny, and I could use a laugh. Besides the theory holds.
The point is, if you have a real clear picture of what your brand is, then other things fall into place more easily. Like your target audience and where to go to talk to them.
So I don't understand that "we're going all out on the web" approach unless you already know that your target audience is like, totally into the web and you know that because you've defined your target based on your brand.
But, as I've said before, I'm an old man and pretty much of an idiot to boot.