Monday, January 12, 2009

Positive Consumerism

In Advertising and Marketing, Does any one care for the Consumer?

What on earth is Psychology doing in Marketing? Psychologists are, of course, strange mortals who are treated by others with, occasionally, well-placed cynicism. Let me tell you, if you are ever trying to get rid of someone at a social gathering or are trying to make them edgy, try telling them you are a psychologist or a psychiatrist and watch them suddenly change posture, scratch their ear fiendishly and finally retreat at speed to refill their already-full glass.

But Psychology is not a black art and it’s no secret that the Marketing and Advertising world is full of psychologists, amateur or otherwise. Coming from a totally different background to most agency staff, I tend to look at things from a different point of view. And I suppose that's why I am constantly perplexed why the personal likes and dislikes of clients have such a enormous participation into the final decision making process.

You may, or may not, be aware of the expression 'Social Loafing’. This is a phenomenon which occurs when you have a large number of people working towards a common goal and, together they are less productive than they would have been if they had been working as individuals. Now, if a psychologist was to decide to conduct research into the details of ‘Social Loafing’, the last person they would ask to identify the variables that impact on productivity is the boss (or the client). This is because the boss/client will have every kind of preconceived idea which will colour their judgement. You get the idea. The objective way to do it would be either to observe dispassionately exactly what is going on or better still, talk to the people and see what they say.

So why is that the personal preferences of clients and agency personnel for that matter get built into the process that arrives as the final creative execution of any promotional marketing or advertising concept? After all, the target audience is rarely the board of directors on the client company. And when you look at the people who make the final creative decision, they all have different agendas. The Marketing Manager wants to sell something that is original and stimulating, inventive and chock full of freshness. The Advertising Agency wants to win awards and design/produce something that makes the rest of the world sit up and take note.

But what about the end Consumer? Do they really care if the advertisement/promotion is nominated for a "Best Sales Promotion" or "Best Advertisement" award? Does it matter to them if the advertisement promotion is held up as a signpost of the way in which the industry is heading? It seems to me that no many occasions it's the down-to-earth and sensible approach which wins the day. Take for example, the ‘buy one, get one’ promotion which offers an extra product free.

Added value is hardly original but, after all, the shopper buying the product, actually likes the product so what better incentive could there be than to give them more of the product they like? And before agency staffs hang their heads in despair, there is no reason why a tried and tested technique can't be give extra creative sparkle. It’s proven psychological fact that most people would choose a $50 bill today rather than a $100 bill promised next week. So maybe the creative/advertising industry should be looking in greater detail at what the consumer actually wants rather than what both the client and the agency, want the customer to want. You get the picture?

Note: At our company Ideasonic, we ensure that the Customers needs are addressed first, coupled with our creative juice and the clients requirements.


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