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Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Just for a change, a helpful marketing idea

I'm a bit shattered, recovering from a trip to Riga which called for a 22 hour day. Not to be recommended for elderly gentlemen. So for a change, here's something about business.

The picture - taken on my cheap mobile phone - is of an ad aimed at visitors that I saw when I was in Sofia twelve days ago.

See what you think of it.

I often find little things teach interesting lessons, so I used for one of my endless stream of helpful marketing ideas. I started these about 15 months ago, planning to put together 51.

I have no idea why I said 51, but anyhow I've just kept going, and this is number 79.

While I was in Sofia, I was interviewed by a magazine.

Unless you speak Bulgarian (which I certainly don’t) you won’t appreciate the intellectual depth, uncanny perception and wit of my responses to a number of questions.

One of them, however, was: “Have you ever failed in something; what was it, and what happened?”

I answered that there probably wasn’t space in their magazine to list all my failures, let alone describe them in the exuberant, comic detail they merit.

However, many were due to what that wonderful retail (and direct marketing) expert Murray Raphel called “the curse of assumption”.

He pointed out that all too often we assume people know all about we are selling when they don’t. And if people don’t know what you’re selling, they are hardly likely to buy it, are they?

Because we live with what we sell all the time and think about it constantly, we presume that others do. As a result we fail to mention things we know which are small but crucial and without which people simply will not buy.

For instance I once wrote a mailing for Management Today which was wonderful in every respect except that it failed to say whether it was a weekly or a monthly magazine or how many pages it contained. The mailing did reasonably well because what they were doing before was so dire. But still, pretty damn stupid, eh?

So look at the tasteful, elegant ad I reproduced at the top. It gives you four useful phrases in Bulgarian. Very helpful.

Except there is no translation. Very silly.

The moral is, always show your stuff to someone who knows nothing about it and ask if they understand. You’ll be amazed what you can miss out or ignore.

One practical thing to do that is very boring but utterly necessary is to describe your offering in complete detail before you start.

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