March 12, 2008

Does your marketing stack up?

Looking Sideways – An eccentric look at sales and marketing

When I look at how companies market their business it seems that most of them are stuck in a post-Kotler time warp of product, place, promotion and price.

The same old boring adverts, buying into their advertising agencies “its all about branding” song that has been a golden oldie since the 70s.
Our audience today is way more sophisticated than it was even 3 years ago. They want to interact and connect and don’t care how much we know until how much we care.
Below are three scenarios of how to engage our markets in a different way.

Estate Agents

Estate Agents are still putting their faces on dustbins to attract business. Not really where one want to position oneself … but it obviously still works. If it were me I’d try another strategy. Imagine if you wrote an e-book called “Are You Making These 10 Horror Mistakes When Buying Or Selling Your House?” You then advertised a free copy of the e-book in your local Caxton newspaper and asked people to send their email address and telephone number to get a copy. I figure that the people that would respond to this advert are either buyers or sellers of houses. Just phone them to thank them for downloading the e-book and find out how you can help them. I’d say this is a qualified lead.


A friend of mine recently ate at a new Primi Piatti in Chilli Lane, Sunninghill. Now Primi is on the cutting-edge of experience marketing and gets it right more often than not. My friend got 50% off his meal. Why? Because Primi was training its waiters and discounted the meal just in case the waiters didn’t get it right. What a concept and what a way to build a loyal client base. Imagine if your restaurant had a section where waiters were being trained and you got 50% off your meal if you sat in that section (profits are still going to be made on drinks, aren’t they?) At least you’d attract people that you normally wouldn’t and you’d be sure that your restaurant was full.


At around R60 000 a month to advertise on a high-traffic billboard you want that advertising to work for you. Unfortunately, most billboards are just branding vehicles pushed by advertising agency (who walk out of the deal with a cool 16.5% every month). How’d you feel if your billboard really worked for you? Would it be helpful to be able to measure the results of your billboard advertising?

Let’s take the Guess clothing brand’s billboard campaign, for example. One typically sees an emaciated model wearing Guess jeans. And the tagline is Guess by Marciano. Imagine if Guess also had the following message … Go to and claim 20% off any purchase. Guess what? Guess fans and those that can’t afford the clothes (but want them) will go to the website.

Allow the website visitors to print out a voucher (20% off) which is redeemable at any outlet that stocks Guess. I guarantee that most Guess fans will go and purchase some clothing. And, not only will the department store move Guess, it will move other products as well as the buyer sees something else she likes.
Best of all for the Guess marketers is that they’ll be able to measure their billboard advertising campaign. If nobody takes them up on the offer, they may consider spending their advertising through another vehicle.

These are just some mind sparks to help you think out of the box about your future marketing efforts.

Jacques de Villiers is a sales training and sales consulting expert

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