Monday, October 08, 2007

The War on Marketing Strategy

I have never seen Al Ries hand out bad advice until now. He says focus on your category first and your brand second in his Advertising Age Magazine installment. (You Can't Survive If Your Entire Environment Disappears - his words) But - Companies don't often have the muscle, the push or the pull to move a category, so what's Al's agenda? Weaken brands to the point that they must beg for his consulting help? At procter and Gamble we always shot down advertising agency strategies that had a "category" sell because they were too generic and not brand specific enough. (That's always the best, but also the most difficult strategy/answer to find in today's worlds of commodity products - where private labels (ie: Kirkland for example) are just as good as branded items.

Here are a few of my other comments in Ad Age:


I disagree completely. Kodak did a great job selling film pre-digital - when film was relevant. Then digital came along and they did no homework to determine how film might remain relevant in a digital environment. They just followed the digitals and it's tough to lead when you are part of the herd. That was Kodak's mistake. They didn't make a stand. And they may not have ended up like Custer.

At the critical time and unable to find the correct selling/perception/motivation solutions, key Kodak execs like marketing head Andrew Salzman jumped ship for Compaq, and faded from sight - as did the Kodak "memories" equity. They are as easily captured digitally, BUT I think film has not gone the way of the Betamax, I think there is a place for film and creativity just as strong as Apple's found vs. PCs. They just need to do the homework to determine how to say it. (And that's not by staffing with Apple employees) What is their reason-for-being? What Special User Effect (tm) can they transfer to customers who might try film again. There are many trier/rejectors, light and medium users - and I am still one. Those would be great positioning projects. Focus on your brand and the category will take care of itself. Ben Franklin said take care of the minutes and the hours will mind themselves. I believe that should be Kodak's tact. Jibe ho!

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