I decided I need to add some sort of regularity to this blog, and instead of feeding it a Jamie Lee Curtis-promoted yogurt, I came up with Thirsty Thursdays. On Thursdays I will post any interesting blog posts, tweets, articles, or anything else that people thirsty for marketing/PR insights would (hopefully) be interested in reading.\
So this week I am being consumed by my final campaign presentations for both my PR and Advertising classes which are next week. However, I still managed to find time to stumble upon something that truly fascinates me. On Monday, I was discovered a Tweet from Adam Thurman that said “My goal as an
#artsmarketer = no more paid advertisements, ever. No print, no outdoor, nothing. Not there yet. Working on it.” Now Adam is the President of Mission Paradox, a Chicago consulting firm specializing in marketing and also is the Marketing Director at a Chicago theater (while I know where he works, he doesn’t state it on his website so I’ll leave it be). I’ve been following the Mission Paradox blog ever since I met Adam in April of 2009 when I volunteered for the Chicago Artists’ Resource Creative Chicago Expo and monitored his information session. I’ve noticed a theme in his posts of focusing on creating quality experiences and letting them speak for your art, but until I saw that tweet,I’d never thought about what sort of organizations would be willing to try this and would it work for them?
After thinking about it for a while, I came up with two case studies.
For the 2010 Olympics, Proctor and Gamble (while they did purchase their fair share of television ads) spent what seems like a great deal of money basically on PR. Their slogan was “Proud Sponsors of Moms” and they flew every mother of an American Olympic Team member to Vancouver so they could be there to watch their child. They also set up a home site for mothers which included doing their make-up (So when their kid won the gold medal she’d look her best in the following shot of her crying hysterically). While it seems like this was an incredible amount of money for P&G to spend, they most likely spent less in flying all those mothers to Vancouver than they would have for a 30-second TV spot, and probably gained a lot more positive brand perception among their customers. While their advertising did follow the concept of sponsoring moms, if they’d wanted to they could probably have spent their whole advertising budget on similar tactics and come out just as well, if not better off in sales and definitely better off in goodwill.
I’ve worked off and on for a BBW for the last 3 years and until they started their Chicago “Blue Chip” initiative last year they had not once run a TV ad in their 25 years of existence. I don’t know about you, but long before I worked there I was a serious customer and can remember deadly junior high locker room fumes of Plumeria, Sun-Ripened Raspberry, and Sweet Pea all mingling together. For 25 years this company built themselves up with a customer service motto of “Take her from satisfied to loyal.” I’ve seen a few people bring in coupon ads from magazines, but maybe only 5 in 3 years. The company relies on the quality of their product to keep the customer coming back for more. They also have a pricing strategy similar to Kohl’s (which my mom and I refer to as the “If you paid ticket price, you’re an idiot” model). BBW gives every purchasing customer a “reason to return” in the form of a coupon that takes effect the next month and has done a lot lately to promote their online store and to promte BBW in general on social media sites. (but not in paid advertising on social media).This company has managed to become a household necessity (at least in a lot of our homes) without advertising. Even as a new company, they relied on people loving their products so much that they’d tell all their friends about it.
These are just a few things I thought about on the topic. I’m sure I could have found a lot more interesting things had I more time, but I have homework to do.
I really do love the idea though of creating something that makes such a quality experience for your customer that you don’t have to pay for them to notice it and become involved in it.