The Power of Marketing
When you hear the word "marketing" what comes to mind? More business or wasted money? If your experience with marketing or advertising has been less than positive your cynicism may be well founded. Yet, have you ever noticed a competitor with a mediocre product and a healthy business? The difference is often marketing.
Some say they've never done marketing and don't need to because of good word-
of-mouth. Positive word-of-mouth is great, but not enough if you're serious about
growing your business. Others do invest in marketing yet treat it as a necessary evil.
The problem with that mindset is that it's driving with the brakes on. Those people
sabotage their efforts by making poor decisions, taking half-measures and often
resisting anything innovative.
When asked about the "one big key" to marketing success I reply that there's
nothing more important than a "marketing mindset". A marketing mindset is an
attitude, a way of thinking, that values and embraces the power of marketing. If you
look at the companies and brands that are most successful -- Nike, Microsoft,
Virgin, Trump, Saturn, Kenneth Cole, etc -- you'll find someone at the top with a
marketing mindset. People like Trump, Cole, and Virgin's Richard Branson may have
it instinctively. For most, however, it's a learned attribute. So, if you don't have a
marketing mindset yet, keep reading and start to get one.
Follis Fact #1
You need a Marketing Mindset.
Attracting vs. Chasing
A guy sees a beautiful woman in a bar, tracks down her name and number, calls her
up and says, "Hi, my name is Joe and I'm great in bed." That's cold calling. Another
guy sees a beautiful woman in a bar and gives her a napkin that says, "I'm Bill and
I'm great in bed." That's direct marketing. A third guy sees a beautiful woman in a
bar, has his ex-girlfriend go up to her and say, "See that cute guy over there? He's
my ex, his name is Tom, and he's really great in bed." That's PR. Last guy walks into
a bar, a beautiful woman approaches him and says, "Hi, my name is Courtney and I
hear you're really great in bed." That's effective marketing.
Attraction is the essence of marketing. When you create enough desire to get your
prospect to come to you, they'll always be more predisposed to buying.
That bares repeating. When you create enough desire to get your prospect to come
to you, they'll always be more predisposed to buying. The challenge, of course, is
that your prospect is elusive prey. So, imagine the first rabbit hunters. They'd
using spears and rocks until a more evolved Neanderthal got the idea of using
carrots. Or, imagine the girl who desperately wants a date, but can't understand why
she scares guys away when she chases them. Unfortunately, too many businesses
act like that girl chasing for a date by putting lots into selling and nothing into
Follis Fact #2
It's always better to attract than chase.
Expense vs Investment
Those who don't understand marketing view it as an expense. Those with a
marketing mindset know it's an investment. They know that, if done right, it can
excite their prospects and produce a great return. "Done right" means well-
researched, well-managed, and generally handled by someone who knows what
they're doing. Regarding expense, being a small business is a bad excuse to do
nothing. Start small, but do something. There are plenty of cost-effective, non-
traditional ways to do a test. So, if you want to grow, you can't afford not to develop
a marketing plan.
Have a Great Product
At the risk of stating the obvious, a big key for marketing success is having a great
product. In his best-selling book, Purple Cow, marketing guru Seth Godin calls it,
"being remarkable." It's about having a product or service that's exceptional.
Though many non-remarkable products may seem to do well because of great
marketing, no long-term success can be achieved without a great product. In fact, if
a product is not great, great marketing will usually make it fail faster. People will
buy it, not like it, and never buy it again.
Case in point: Ever see an exciting teaser for an upcoming movie? It can make a lot
of people run out and buy a ticket. The problem starts a couple of weeks later when
folks see the movie, hate it, and then spread the word. Before you know it, the
movie's gone. Here's another case. Remember New Coke? If not, you're not alone. It
didn't last long. Despite the marketing muscle that Coke put behind it, the Coke-
drinking public decided they were quite happy with the old Coke. Another case
involves a new tropical hotel. Eager to jump-start his business the owner got tour
directors and travel writers to check it out and hopefully generate some good buzz.
Problem was, the hotel wasn't finished. Had he waited a couple more months he
would've gotten great reviews. Now he'll be lucky if those tour directors and writers
give him another shot.
If businesses spent less energy trying to sell their product and more on improving
it, they'd have more success in the long run.
Follis Fact #3
Great marketing will make a bad product fail faster.
Follis Fact #4
The better your product, the better your marketing can be.
Excite vs. Inform
A lot of marketing doesn't do the whole job. It informs, but doesn't excite. The fact
is, it doesn't matter if you have the best product if you're not getting prospects
excited. If you don't excite your prospect, you won't sell your product. So, how do
you excite your prospect? Start by acknowledging that your prospect isn't just a
prospect. She's a person with emotions who doesn't respond with just her head. She
responds with her heart, soul, and funny bone. As a marketer, you must tap into the
right emotional and psychological nerve that gets your prospect excited.
For example, when Canon wants to sell its new camera to families, they'll tout its
high-tech features, but that's not ultimately how they'll sell it. They'll sell it by
associating those features with the things that we, as humans, care about ... a
child's first steps, a great vacation, or a 90th birthday celebration. When Chrysler
targets NFL-watching guys with a spot for its new sports car, there's a reason they
use quick cuts, heavy-metal music, and mention it goes 150 mph. Will you drive
150 mph? Doubtful. Does that still excite the macho male libido? Absolutely.
Follis Fact #5
If you want'em excited about your product, you'd better get'em excited about your
(For more "Follis Facts" and marketing secrets, see booklet info below.)
? 2005 John Follis. All rights reserved.
John Follis is one of the 12 "Best Advertising Minds of New York" as voted by The
New York Ad Club. His campaigns are in 3 college textbooks, he has written for
ADWEEK, and he has taught at 3 New York universities. Currently, John works on
select projects, consults, and speaks. He may be reached at
For John's booklet: How to Attract and Excite Your Prospects: A Guide for Getting
the Best Marketing Results, visit: http://www.follisinc.com/booklet.htm
consulting info, visit: Marketing Therapy: http://www.follisinc.com/therapy.htm
For speaking info, visit: Follis