The Marketing Hits' Formula
From time to time the marketing world is stunned by huge, quick, unpredictable and seemingly inexplicable successes. These hits are products or services, entertainment locales or vacation spots, shopping malls or specialty stores that enjoy a puzzling immediate popularity. There are unknowns that become hot celebrities, there are events, festivals or concerts that capture the masses, real estate development projects that evoke huge demand, or styles that become trendy. In nearly all cases, there are also new brands that are immediately adopted by the target population. For example, Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code, Apple's iPod and the Blogs, the Hamptons in Long Island New York, Toyota's Scion brand, the Crest electric toothbrush and many more examples.
There are cases in which the reasons for product's success are obvious. The success of Viagra a product that has solved a serious problem for millions of men worldwide - is hardly surprising. Even the success of vacation resorts in Turkey - that have made accessible once a luxurious vacation style to a new middle class segment is not a mystery. In contrast, in other cases the success of a specific product, place or person over the competition remains unclear. We have all observed the phenomenon of a packed and trendy cafι surrounded by apparently equally attractive but relatively empty coffee bars.
Research of marketing hits is not a new thing. Certain categories have accumulated much knowledge enabling planning and launching of hits with a practical probability of success. In the leisure and entertainment segment, companies such as Disney, Warner, HBO, and others have demonstrated such consistent capabilities in theater, television, music, toys, electronic games, and more. A similar ability has been demonstrated in the fashion industry, fragrances, cosmetics and retail. On the whole, secrets are kept closely. Many have tried to crack the formula of marketing hits successes.
Short sweet success
In the last few years, more and more sectors have become as high paced and as changeable as the fashion industry. The importance of hits for the success of companies has risen in sectors such as the following: cars, food, grooming, hotels, construction, entertainment electronics, software, and the list goes on. It even includes unexpected categories such as financial services.
Personally, I have begun my work in the marketing hits field in the latter half of the 1990's. I identified a radical change in consumer behavior and a dramatic rise in a new motivation that I coined "The Fear of Missing Out - FoMO". In 2001, I developed a standardized questionnaire that measured FoMO and discovered it motivates at different levels about 70% of the consumers in developed countries. Of the 70%, half possess this fear at a high level. In extremely concise terms, FoMO turns consumers into serial seekers and adopters of the new (while inevitably forsaking the not-so-new). So, one consequence among many is that FoMO nibbles at customers' loyalty to brands.
After realizing that our efforts to preserve customers' loyalty are, more often than not, pathetic and futile, I conclude that we now need new tools to deal with a new consumer reality that is here to stay. Therefore, I have developed a comprehensive 'technology' of rules and tools for developing, launching and managing profitably, "Short-Term Brands (STB)". STB are planned short term successes. During this development process, I did an extensive, in depth analysis of over 150 marketing hits in various, diverse categories. In parallel, I have studied the accumulated experience in sectors that have learned how to methodically develop and generate such hits. In mid 2004, the results culminated in the "Marketing Hits' Formula" which is now a part of the STB armory.
The Marketing Hits' Formula and its implementation method allows for marketing innovation that will be accepted with immediate enthusiasm by the target consumers and will spread virally. This formula has two major advantages: First, it is applicable to almost all categories. Second, it does not necessitate enormous marketing and advertising budgets (the most common way of attempting to instigate success within a short time frame).
Success has its Rules
The formula postulates that each marketing hit comprises of the following four elements:
Hits are planned and managed short-lived successes (the duration of 'short' varies among categories) that are replaced by new hits. It is of utmost importance to realize that hits satisfy two types of human needs not catered for by long term established brands:
Success has its tools
Applying the Marketing Hits' Formula requires certain tools. A major one is the Fore-Search consumer research method which I will describe briefly later on. Firstly, this method assists both the precise identification of the components of the "format that has been proven successful in the past" 4 mentioned above. Then, it enables the pre-detection of elements that will be perceived by the target consumers as being Cool, WOW or a Twist.
The hit development process includes the following four stages:
We put the Marketing Hits' Formula to practice during the last half of 2004 and already gained experience in such diverse categories as pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, food products and TV shows. Let me give you one recent example.
A few months back we have utilized the formula to assist an Eastern European client in developing a new female contraceptive product. This in-uterus device releases progesterone at a low dose and is effective for a full menstrual cycle. During our work together, the client's marketing team came to realize that they may be manufacturing a medical product but their customer is actually purchasing a product that directly influences her sexual pleasure. The new product may propose some decrease in side effects compared with previous products however, we had made a decision to concentrate on developing the product as a marketing hit that crosses into sex life improvement accessories. The viral component chosen here was a multi-color, glow-in the-dark feature. In addition, the device's package would include (in addition to the necessary components required according to health regulations) Kama Sutra style cards depicting pleasurable sexual positions. The product launch is expected in the near future, and if I were to base my hunch on the extensive research findings from a comprehensive market study we have a sure hit on our hands.
Dr. Dan Herman is the owner and CEO of Herman - Strategic Consultants serving worldwide clients ranging from local mid-sized companies to Fortune Global 500 corporations. Together with his highly trained team, he creates Unique Success Formulas for organizations and for brands, designed to achieve an unfair advantage, in fact, a sort of monopoly. To find out more, visit his Web site: www.danherman.com .
Herman - Strategic Consultants