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What’s Not To Like? Lazy Marketing.

  • Jed Mole

    Jed Mole

Created at September 22nd, 2016

What’s Not To Like? Lazy Marketing.

In 1979, Gary Numan’s Tubeway Army asked ‘Are Friends Electric?’ and today I can answer their question, ‘No, no they’re not, but they are annoying at times.’

We all know the phrase ‘You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.’ That’s true, of course, but my advice to  younger readers, or those looking to swap out a few friends that may be annoying for reasons you don’t fully understand, is to add this question to your checklist: ‘Will you tell me I like things I don’t, especially food?’

My sons aren’t my friends. It’s not that I don’t like them, I like them very much most of the time. That, in some part, is due to the fact they’re practically omnivores. At 10 and going on 12 at the time of writing, they’re at the stage where I can’t fill them up. The good news is, they’re not craving crisps or sausage rolls but good, wholesome food and the occasional treat. They’ll eat almost anything including fish, veg and all the healthy stuff. Please don’t hate me, I know I’m lucky. Rarely do I have to say ‘go on, try it, you’ll like it, honest you will.’ Of course, I have done and still do that but thankfully rarely. If you have a 2 to 3 year old and want them to eat broccoli, just challenge them to ‘eat a whole tree’. Few feisty youngsters will duck that challenge. Top tip.

This is why it’s so annoying when firmly in middle age, I know with passionate conviction I do not like shellfish, mushrooms or sweetcorn; though I am an omni-boire and have been told so. Joke’s on me. Still, or sparkling, I’m certain I don’t want to try some mussels, no matter how great you know they are and I will not like the big field mushroom that I’ve asked to be left off from my breakfast order. I don’t know why I don’t like these things, though I did recently learn my father is allergic to shellfish, I just know I don’t. Few things irritate me more than being told I’m wrong about this and really should give it another go. Who are these ‘friends’ trying to please?!

Every month for what must be getting on for a decade now, I get the same envelope from my credit card offering a balance transfer. I sometimes wonder if it’s perfect recycling. Could the discarded envelope really go through the whole system, get wiped down and come back through my letterbox 30 days later? What about digital recycling? The same email every week, for years, and surely I’m bound to give in eventually, aren’t I? The truth is, some of this must pay off. Sometimes we do change, like when we have children, so need and circumstance can turn a ‘no’ into a ‘must have’.

Then there’s the angle of ‘discovery’. While sitting next to a pleasant chap who specialises in addressable TV at I-Com in Seville, we discussed the relative merits of segmenting to one, or few. He made a great point that a key part of advertising is discovery; the notion that some of your audience may want what you’re offering, it’s just they don’t know they want it yet. They may not even know it exists. That’s fair enough, for that channel, to the right degree, but surely today’s marketers armed with so much data and tech can do a better job than that? Surely we can stop force feeding and repeating offers for the same old stuff. It’s often a function of cost. It’s just so cheap to bombard everyone with the same message, too cheap to keep sending the same or extremely similar offer, too hard to find a new idea or breathe fresh life into a decades old product.

But, come on, we’re better than that!

I appreciate the numbers game when it comes to marketing. What I don’t appreciate is lazy marketing when there is an alternative – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Of course, it can even help you sell more in the long run. As a marketer myself, I realise I’m at risk of throwing stones from inside my greenhouse, but they say, the first step to recovery is acceptance. I encourage us all to take a good hard look at these repeating and one-size fits all, again and again, campaigns. I bet we can make marketing better.