Tuesday, November 08, 2011

For Some Marketers It Is All About You!

For some marketers it is about you, the consumer and for others it is only about their company or the irrelevant names of huge, multi-county areas media outlets use for measurement.

Ann TaylorHere are two examples.  First is a postcard Ann Taylor is using to announce a new store in Durham.  “The Ann (heart’s) Durham!” direct mail advertisement is an example of how a company demonstrates that it understands how important the identity of a community is to those who live there.

For all I know, although the location is in Durham, the company mailed similar announcements to residents of other communities in that celebrated mall’s catchment area, covering much of the state.  Equally smart for those outside Durham would have been “Ann (heart’s) North Carolina!”

According to a survey by the organization representing chief marketing officer, 49% believe localized marketing such as this is essential to business growth and profitability and another 21% believe it is key to differentiation and competitiveness.Custom Link

Arriving in my mail on the same day was an example of a business that isn’t as marketing savvy as Ann Taylor.  It uses the name of the jointly-owned airport, Raleigh-Durham which isn’t located in either Durham or Raleigh but midway between.

Most likely though, using the airport name was a substitute for the name of a huge, obsolete media-measurement designation, Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville spanning 22 counties dozens of communities and parts of three states.

Durham and Raleigh co-own a great airport but there is simply no such place named Raleigh-Durham.  Some use it to mask their geographic uncertainty and others out of careless disregard for how important specific locations are to businesses and consumers.

The 22-county media designation, stretched to drive the price of advertising as high as possible, may be relevant to the owners of media outlets but it has absolutely no relevance to consumers.  In fact, surveys show that it is irritating.

Located in Downtown Durham, the parent company of The Arts Institute of Raleigh-Durham made the same mistake.  Unfortunately marketers at Education Management Corporation based in Pittsburgh, PA may have failed to take advertising courses taught at the for-profit chain’s forty-five campuses.  While proud to be home to an AI campus, the mistaken nomenclature is a source of irritation and an insult to Durham residents, not to mention confusing to potential students.

Demonstrate the propensity of some marketers to dig themselves into a hole and then keep on digging when it comes to their ego and in this case to the embarrassment of people who work there, the parent company plastered the errant name on the side of a building facing fans at Durham Bulls Athletic Park and search engines often bring up a paid result that is even worse, “Raleigh Art School.”

While some marketers like those for Ann Taylor make their advertising all about customers, for others it is all about them and once they step in the bucket, they pretend they did it on purpose.  Now, there’s an approach that will endear your product to consumers!

Marketers need to grasp the fact that Nearly 8 out of 10 residents prefer to characterize where they live by the name of a specific city, town or country.  The next most popular category is a specific neighborhood.  Only a tiny sliver prefer a general area or region and no one uses the name of an airport or a designation for media measurement.

Potential shoppers and the general public also appreciate knowing specific and accurate locations.  No one likes being tricked by confusing references.

Using the name of a community on marketing materials will appeal to residents there. Using the name of an area designated by media outlets may endear a marketer to the owners of the outlet but no one else.

If marketer gets it right, impressing customers with the name of their community is a great way to show that the are all about their customers.  If they want to show they don’t care, just substitute the name of a jointly owned airport or a media market designation or a general area.

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