There is Nothing New in Marketing Except Catch Phrases

Marketing is about segmentation and targeting there is nothing more to it. Segmentation is recognizing that different people buy different products for different reasons and  finding those reasons, occasions, usage scenarios and hence what the customer is willing to pay for. Targeting is delivering versions that meets those reasons and customer’s willingness to pay. I started a new series of articles on what I called “Fidelity Trap“. As I said in the introductory post, this is  concept I based off of the concept of Fidelity, Convenience and trade-off  as used by author Kevin Maney in his book Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t and on the concept of congruence and traps used in a different context by  professor and author Henry Chesbrough (I did one course with him while at Haas School of Business).

If you take Maney’s book, the core of it is not new or groundbreaking – somethings catch on and others fail when the marketer fails to fully understand their segments and/or fail to target them with the right versions. By definition, products fail in the market place because of marketing failure. What Maney’s framework of  Fidelity and Convenience does is to  frame and group together different reasons, occasions and usage scenarios of the customers.

What about the Traps meme ? It is just another framework or my hope for getting a catchphrase. Traps result when a firm’s marketing strategy is inwardly focused, ignoring market evolution, or due to differences in customer’s stated preferences and behaviors.

In the Trade-off continuum, it is oversimplification to say Fidelity and Convenience are the only two factors involved in customer decision making. It should also be noted that customer utilities from these factors are functions of other variables independent variables. For the analytically inclined there are methods and tools like conjoint analysis that allow the marketer to find how much customers value the different features (be it a fidelity feature or a convenience feature), all other factors  and how to define versions and at what prices.

There is absolutely nothing new in marketing – only restatements, new mental shortcuts and of course catchphrases.


School Market Research

Results from our work with one of our clients

What Worked For Coke Will Not Work For Dr.Pepper

A product without the messaging does not have a market. But the two are not different and interchangeable. You can’t lift a successful messaging that worked for one product and apply to another. For messaging to be successful it has to start at product inception and should evolve with it.

The New York Times talks about Republicans applying the messaging that worked for Bush reelection campaign to McCain 09 campaign. The two products are basically different. A former strategist for McCain perfectly described the move to employ the previous successful team and messaging, in this way:

“It could be the Coca-Cola strategy of marketing that they’re trying to apply to Dr Pepper,”