What happens when you invite a bunch of people, let them sample your product and allow them to speak their mind? Let’s see…
This month marks my third year as a fulltime freelance copywriter. And if you add the 13 odd years I was an agency-employed copywriter, you can say I’ve seen many groundbreaking campaigns.
From the era of experiential marketing and digital 2.0 to current industry buzzwords such as disruptive marketing and hashtag-strategies; the ad game has evolved to the point of mutation.
But no matter what you do, people will continue to form their own opinions – be it positive or otherwise – about a product or service.
The blind ‘taste test’ for Laphroaig (don’t ask me how to pronounce it) reveals an important aspect of consumer behaviour.
They prefer to think for themselves.
We as advertisers can only mould consumers to think a certain way via a concept, proposition or message. But often have no control of how they might interpret our messaging or imagery.
In the case of Laphroaig, they embraced the opinions of their focus group – made up of people who may or may not have consumed the product previously – and went on to create print ads without filtering even the negative comments.
Now, that took some balls.
Granted the product is an intoxicating beverage and there is a certain degree of creative freedom afforded.
But come on… ‘tastes like burning hospital’ as part of a headline? You got to give the people at Laphroaig some props. There are more versions of the print campaign actually, which I urge you to check out.
And the best part, the agency’s copywriter didn’t even have to think of a catchy, punchy and juicy headline; the consumers did it.
Now I want to do a focus group-inspired campaign too… anyone?
Would you speak to a client like how you speak to your spouse? Or would you try to find a drinking buddy at an AA meeting?
It used to be ‘Location Location Location’. Not anymore. Even if you are located in the world’s busiest street, you’re screwed if you don’t know who you are selling to.
Even if you are selling online, a network where you can tap into millions of potential customers, knowing exactly who you want to sell to is imperative.
You don’t shoot without taking aim. You don’t engage without studying your opponent. You can’t – no matter how many times people say it – sell ice to an Eskimo.
Targeting is the first order of business in any marketing communications plan. But sadly, it is grossly overlooked with ancient mass advertising techniques still employed in today’s niche-filled world.
The act of mass advertising is a concept of reaching the maximum number of people, and then hoping for a miracle. It’s like a fisherman who casts his net in waters filled with piranhas only to end up with a huge net to mend.
We all live in our own world these days. Each with our own interests, dislikes, philosophies and preferences.
Even your best friend – who you enjoy many mutual interests with – is a different person. Just compare your Facebook timeline with that of your best friend, you’ll be surprised how you became best friends in the first place.
Targeting sets the tone, especially with copy. It also provides insights and context while ensuring your sales message has a higher chance of being well-received.
What’s more? Targeted advertising campaigns are often a whole lot cheaper, easily managed and often very measurable.
Sell to all, or sell to the select few who could be waiting with their wallets open? So please aim before you shoot.
You hardly get a ‘thank you’ these days. Service with a smile? Forget about it! Being served up to expectations is as rare as a working public payphone. Yet we let companies, businesses, service providers and brands get away with it.
The truth is we have become so accustomed to shoddy service that we don’t really care anymore.
“Just give me what I want, and I’ll be out of here” we say to ourselves.
Don’t businesses know that customer service is way too important to neglect? Businesses do know it, but the people who deliver the service don’t.
A business can make its employees wear as many “Service 1st” or “I Serve with a Smile” badges for the sake of improving service levels. But if the person delivering the service is not bothered, the badge may well be another piece of office accessory, and nothing more.
Humans, by nature are proud. We want to be recognised for our efforts and every mini achievement is celebrated like a roaring success. Over time, we think we are better than the people around us.
A simple example; how many of you think you are better-than-average drivers?
My guess would be that everyone thinks he/she is a good driver than the next person. It is this kind of thinking that has killed customer service.
“I am doing my best already”
“Nobody can do it better than me”
“You think standing behind the counter is easy?”
The practice of overestimating our ability actually serves as a confidence booster. This egotistical behaviour is great for overcoming challenges or problems but only makes one look disinterested and nonchalant when delivering service.
And a customer service personnel that looks or talks like he rather be somewhere else is exactly the kind of stuff we customers hate.
So get your customer service guys or front-liners to lose the ego or get ready to lose customers.
This was a slightly long community service message brought to you by a freelance copywriter who’s pretending to represent all customers.