Wednesday, May 13, 2009

when all else fails, try puppy eyes....

hi, folks .. it's me, willy the yellow lab, serving as your guest blogger today. my mom has been avoiding a ton of stuff and says she's too busy to bother with you, her loyal fans. i keep telling her seth godin and other marketing experts say this is a serious marketing error, and how can she ever expect to have more than 14 followers if this is how she behaves .... but now she's waving me off and telling me to get lost. i know that's impossible 'coz she put one of those damn GPS chips in my neck and now i can't even sneak out with my friends like a normal, self-respecting dog.

anyway, as you all know, my considerable expertise in marketing comes from watching hours of animal planet, and even more hours of sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always interesting human behavior. here are some things you may want to think about as you construct your next marketing program:

1) have a clear objective. and i don't mean something vague like "drive sales." to me, a clear objective is something very specific -- like, "get that piece of chicken shaped like a triangle."

2) have a clear strategy. a while back, my mom was pretty interested in a linkedin forum where some people didn't know the difference between objectives, strategies and tactics. to me (and her), strategies are pretty easy to discern from objectives and tactics. strategies are approaches, the general means by which objectives are accomplished. some people go right to tactics, which is a mistake because it doesn't allow you to fully consider all the alternatives that you have at your disposal when it comes to achievement of a goal. for example, in the case of the chicken triangle, my strategy is going to be to get her to give it to me willingly. there are a number of alternate approaches i could use, such as jumping up and nabbing it off the plate, or by creating a diversion say, taking a leak on the sofa and subtly stealing the chicken while she races off to get the upholstery cleaner. those 2 latter strategies, however, are likely to get me a big doggy spanking, while the first approach is much easier and devoid of pain.

3) select appropriate tactics. now that i've decided on the "willing" strategy, i have to find specific actions that align. i have a huge arsenal of tools i can use, everything from double-barreled drool strands (my personal best: 8"!!) guaranteed to make a mess on the floor, to doing a little circle dance i know she loves ... or even telepathy, which hasn't yet actually worked but which i continue to pursue by staring fixedly at the chicken or whatever in hopes that my brain will actually compel movement of the food to my anxiously awaiting gullet. again, tactics like nabbing or barking or peeing are not well aligned with this strategy and so i won't pursue them. however ... puppy dog eyes are guaranteed to work in nearly every situation and in this case will be the primary, and quite possibly only, tactic required.

why puppy eyes work for dogs - and how they can work for you

here's the thing -- the most effective brand and marketing efforts are built on emotional connections, not on rational arguments. features, advantages and benefits -- all that stuff you learned about early in your career -- it's all still really important, but you've got to move on and understand this at a higher level. if FABs were all that mattered, all salt would be the same price (remember chemistry? all salt is NaCL. it's as much a commodity as any product i can think of, although my mom also likes to use toothpaste as an example.) next time you're at your local grocery, compare the price of morton's to the store brand.

anyway, i digress. the reason why puppy eyes work for dogs is that they inspire 2 very important emotions -- guilt and fear -- which most humans are completely inept at handling. when i fix her with that look, my mom feels guilty because she knows she blew off my walk today, yesterday or last october. it doesn't matter which date -- what matters is that she knows she doesn't do as much for me as she thinks she should (note, i didn't say as much as I think she should. i know i'm getting a pretty sweet deal, but that's for another post). the second emotion is fear --she's afraid that if she doesn't give me the chicken, i might eat something else outside that's not good for me and hurt myself. and then she'd have a giant vet bill, in addition to the guilt. not a good combo.

these emotions can work for you, too, especially if you're in cause marketing. i've seen this work brilliantly on my mom. when the local charities send their people around collecting door-to-door, she gives them money; when the people come collecting on a bitterly cold day, or in the rain, she gives them 2x whatever she usually gives them.

fear is a little trickier ... but still very effective. my mom has a friend who says fear is an essential element of ANY sale. the customer has to, deep down, somehow believe that whatever the other alternatives are aren't going to be as good, or deliver as much value, or be available under the same circumstances, as whatever it is you're offering. when mom finds our food on sale and isn't sure it'll still be available next time, woo wee! we get lots!!

so, when all else fails, try puppy eyes. (it works for me).

1 comment:

Erin Brandt said...

Very well done. That Willy is so smart...and his typing skills—impeccable.

Post a Comment