LOVE PEOPLE!

Thursday, February 10, 2011
It’s once again that time of the year when love is in the air and all around you, or as Jay Leno once described it, “Today is Valentine’s Day – or as men like to call it, Extortion Day!”

GREAT MARKETERS ARE GREAT LOVERS

A great marketer loves people. He observes them well, and is quick to find out what they want, many times even before the consumer himself! They call him the “accidental billionaire.” But one thing the man knew as well as software programming was what people his age liked and wanted. Mark Zuckerberg knew that kids on campus want to always be in touch with each other, apart from of course knowing who was dating whom. He probably was right; no wonder Facebook has over 500 million users, and the “status” tab is the most talked about feature! For a great marketer, the consumer is king.

The rule is simple, give them what they love and you will have them eating out of your hand.

There is nothing more attractive than this four-letter word. No, it’s not ‘LOVE’ but ‘FREE’! If you understand consumers, you will know the magical power of this word. Add to this another four-letter word ‘EASY’ and you have a blockbuster brand in your hands. If you are not convinced, look at Google. It’s so successful because it’s free and it’s so easy to use. It even corrects your spellings. Look at Facebook. It’s free and so easy and simple a concept. In 2007, suddenly everybody was talking about Ryanair, making it Britain’s most loved airline. Why? They gave away 1 million free air tickets. In 4 hours, 4 million people hit its website, making it the most talked about & popular airline service.

Price is the key driving factor and getting it right is one of the key qualities of a great marketer. Bata was always famous for its prices. Though there may not be much difference between Rs.100 and Rs.99.95, somehow Rs.99.95 is always perceived as much lesser than Rs.100. A keen observer of human nature discovered this & Bata sold more shoes.

What’s marketing without advertising! And a great advertisement is one which makes people go out and buy the product! The one advertisement that has burnt up cyberspace, TV, and newspapers in the US recently is the ad for Chrysler’s new sedan. It was shown on Sunday (Feb 6, 2011) and in two days, the ad had gone viral and racked up more than 3.5 million views on the YouTube. Everybody was talking about it. The ad has the one thing everybody loves – honesty. It tells the story of a city that has been to hell and back. It tells the story of an underdog. The world loves this kind of a story. People cried after seeing the ad. And it worked like nobody’s business, for according to Autometrics, within 10 minutes of the ad going on air, 131 people inquired about the sedan’s price. The ad featured Eminem, a rapper, who himself comes back from tough times – much like Detroit. The combination was deadly and worked superbly for Chrysler and Eminem. After all, a good ad reflects the state of the consumer’s psyche and this one echoed what Americans wanted to hear… that the good times would be back again soon.

Tata Nano seems to be doing just that here. Its cute advertisement, where the little girl cuddles her first cute car, pulls at your heart strings; and as you smile, you almost feel a part of this family and share their happiness.

Boroplus too understood a woman like none other. It knew what a woman loves – appreciation. The advertisements of Boroplus moisturising lotion did just that by showing men going crazy over the complexion of women! Women loved it and Boroplus knew it did not need Amitabh Bachchan to sell its product, for it had hit the right chord with its audience.

The appeal of an advertisement also lies in its slogan, its punchline. “Virginia is for lovers” – the slogan worked so well that every resident of the city had this provocative slogan emblazoned on their car bumper stickers. Catch the imagination of the people and you will be able to bowl them over.

Understand what people want and innovate accordingly. The reason why Super Bowl was watched by 111 million people in America last Sunday was because it knew that to increase viewership, it had to promote the game among women and Hispanics. It did just that and made it the most popular show of the year. The reason why Suhaana of the Hindi soap ‘Sasural Genda Phool’ has been voted the most popular character by Indians is because she was just the person they loved to watch & talkabout (according to survey done by ‘Characters India Loves’).

A great ad guy understands human insecurities, wants and desires, and touches those very chords. Just the way Ali Ali and Maged Nassar, two ad guys of Cairo did. They knew what the people of Egypt were thinking and they used their creativity to transfer the feelings of people into one image. They took a decade-old photo of Hosni Mubarak, added the Hitler moustache & floppy hair, found a printer who agreed to print the image secretly, and behold, the revolution got an “image” to bash, and unify against.

Give people what they want. China loves a price war. It always increases sales of the brands that do it. After all, one of the best selling books of that region is The Art of War and they love a war to see the strongest one survive. Not so in America. They don’t like price wars (guess the real ones are more than enough for them to handle!).

GREAT MARKETING IS ABOUT GREAT RELATIONSHIPS

Business is about building relationships with clients and ensuring that they are genuinely happy. Business is not aboutjust “closing a deal,” it’s about genuinely caring for the people and finding out what they want.

Getting good customer insights is most important for not just survival but also to be really loved by your customers. 3M thought it had made a world-class innovation with “Post-it” notes. Then sales started falling. A keen observer of people, 3M immediately realised that this was the era of iPads & smartphones and no one wrote notes on paper but typed them into their gadgets. However, it also saw that these gadgets had made digital photography extremely popular. It took a team of one marketer and two lab-scientists to hit upon the idea of “Post-It-Picture-Paper,” an adhesive coated photo paper on which people could stick their photos & easily display them on their walls. The company found a way to survive!

Sitting in Finland, Nokia did not realise that just making low-cost phones would not help it capture the Indian market. A little thorough research showed that a lot of people could not read & hence were unable to use the phone in places like China, India and Nepal. A simple innovation helped it survive. It made a contact list, where images could be stored. Everyone found it easy. It worked!

All great relationships are based on the ability to really listen to your partner. Infosys does just that. It listens to its youngest recruits. N. R. Narayana Murthy introduced the “voice of youth” programme where each year, 9 very young & very bright recruitswere allowed to attend the very senior management council meeting to discuss their ideas with the top guys. In fact, every great company from P&G to RIM (makers of Blackberry) have at the top a CEO who sets a culture of listening. This way you understand people better, create marketing campaigns that work and build strong ever-lasting relationships, with both your customers and employees. That’s the most important aspect of marketing!

THE GREATEST EMOTION IS LOVE

It’s the right time of the year to acknowledge the power of this great emotion. Think about it, our best songs are love songs (love for spouse, parents, nation, children,family, whatever), our best movies are those where love finally wins, our best success stories are of people we love to love – the underdogs. The failures, whom no one gave a chance, but who fought all adversities & made it. Our best leaders are those who taught us love – be they our parents or Mahatma Gandhi, who in this issue of the TIME magazine tops the list of “Top 25 Political Icons” of all time. No one tilldate could beat Gandhiji’s philosophy of “ahimsa”. He showed the world how to win a war with love.

Our best campaigns are the ones that are most honest and the ones that speak the language people want to hear. If you can understand human nature, then you will always get a “YES” as an answer whenever you ask, “Will you be mine?” Love people. They’ll love you back!