This entry doesn’t contain a marketing lesson, just some memories.
This is a photo of the guru’s first car – a 1978 Wartburg 353W Tourist. It was taken in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital. The car had a two-stroke engine, three cylinders and around 30 bhp. It used – for the times – an environmentally-friendly mix of oil and gasoline. It had neither power steering, nor electric windows or similar unnecessary details. The gear lever was next to the wheel and you didn’t need a clutch to change into lower gears. Driving downhill, you’d simply turn off the engine and save on fuel. Don’t try this on today’s cars – turning off the engine would also cut off the steering wheel and the brakes. Despite it all, fuel efficiency was 25mpg. It had air-conditioning too – you just rolled down the windows. J
I didn’t have a car radio either. It first broke down after 100,000 miles. In the end, I sold it to a builder who used exactly ten times to carry heavy loads to the island of Krk, Croatia, before he complained to my mother that the car had unexpectedly fallen apart. He was just joking, though; he really was satisfied with his purchase.
I’ve promised none, but still, here’s a small marketing lesson for you. This car probably made me happier than any other car I’ve had since. I can still vividly recall it, I can feel its plastic steering wheel; I can hear the sound of its engine and feel the design of the driver’s seat. When you’re a kid, you only want a car; the wish is so much stronger if cars are difficult to get.
In sales, the most important thing is to figure out what customers want, and then offer it to them. East European cars were lousy. But not everyone could get one, and that’s why we wanted them so badly (shortage increases price and demand).
Sell what people crave for. Increase the value of your product or service by (artificially) limiting the offer.
Have you noticed 3 new things in the marketing guru’s diary?
NEW #1: The category “New entries on your e-mail”. If you submit your e-mail address, you’ll automatically receive my blog entries. Whenever I write something new, you’re the first to learn about it. How simple and convenient! If you like this category, submit your e-mail.
NEW #2: RSS feeds. Those who’ve heard of RSS feeds know what it’s all about. The others don’t bother.
NEW #3: Look at the category in the upper right corner: “Latest comments”. Click and read the latest comments to my blog entries. The newest comment is on the top. Handy, isn’t it? This category was added because of popular demand.
A marketing lesson? The word NEW has a magical effect. But you already know that. If you sell new things, don’t forget to let your customers know! That’s the second marketing moral to this entry. Doing something good and NEW isn’t enough; you have to communicate this to your customers.
“Common sense is not that common.” Keynote speaker Drayton Bird told me on several occasions. They seem to agree with him at H&M. Common sense can’t be taken for granted. The only question is if such an ad puts off those who don’t have any…
Let’s have a look at one more photograph from the same shop. This one gives an important marketing lesson. We need to educate customers!
Keynote speaker about beer
We also had a couple of beers while in Brussels last week. Beer can’t be poured into any old glass. Belgians recommend a certain glass to drink a particular beer brand from.
A marketing lesson? Stories sell. Telling a better story than your competition helps your marketing. It also helps if you tell a customer exactly what he/she needs to do. We are very good at following instructions. Not telling our customers exactly what they are expected to do is a colossal mistake. Cheers!
If you want to sell at a higher price, you have to specialize. A dentist specialized in patients with diabetes will achieve two things. Firstly, he/she will attract customers (patients) with diabetes. It’s logical to see a doctor who specializes in your type of disease. So, if you have diabetes, you will naturally opt for a specialist, a specialist who has the right solution for you. And the price can be higher, too. We are always willing to pay more for a specialist, for someone who will devote his/her time only to us, for someone who has the knowledge others don’t have.
A more banal and thus more illustrative example is socks. Yesterday I shopped for socks again. I bought special socks for tennis, special for cycling, special for sitting in the office. Unfortunately they didn’t have those I was really looking for – special socks for soccer. [More]