To me, marketing is more about psychology than anything else. Why do people buy one product instead of another? What drives them to pick a particular item off a shelf instead of another? Is it more about emotion or logic? Or something else?
One thing I find particularly fascinating is how people often say (and truly believe) something completely different than what they will actually do. It makes the work for marketers that much more difficult. What actually drives traffic and interest in a brand? What do you need to do as a marketer to get people interested in your brand?
I am currently reading “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Wharton School of Business marketing professor Jonah Berger. He talks about different tactics that we can follow to make people want to talk about our brands. Hint: cats in videos are not the answer. The book outlines the STEPPS: social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical and stories. The Triggers section has some particularly fascinating points.
Triggers are about being top of mind and having a brand or product or name that people naturally associate with things they think of all the time. For instance, if you hear the word “peanut butter” you probably think of “jelly” right away. If you are in the jelly business, it is a lot easier to market your product because all the work peanut butter is doing to market itself will increase your sales too.
An example from the book describes how the sales of Mars candy bar sales spiked in 1997. They didn’t spend any more on advertising or do any huge product pushes. So, what happened? NASA’s Pathfinder mission was on its way to explore the red planet. People were talking about Mars (social currency – people like to share things and feel smart or cool) which made people think about Mars bars and buy their candy instead of other brands.
On the radio today I heard another incredible example of this. Apparently, travel to Norway has increased by more than 37 percent. Why? Disney’s newest mega-hit movie: Frozen. The movie isn’t even actually set in Norway, but the country inspired the scenery of the film. How do they know this is the driver behind the travel? Parents are actually writing on their customs and immigration forms that the reason for their travel is because their kids love Frozen and want to experience it more. Disney has started marketing the Frozen experience on new cruise opportunities – to Norway. Will Norwegian Cruise Line pick up on this potential gold mine? And, for the first time in U.S. history, the name “Elsa” has broken the top 100 most popular baby names. What other brands can get in on the residual benefits of this current craze?
What triggers are right outside your doors that you can use to your advantage? I wonder how much it would cost to get Disney to name a character in their next big hit movie after our brand…