Consumers are continually becoming more and more sophisticated, especially in an age where we now quantify and track everything. This allows marketers and advertisers to embrace that kind of transparency, put together their own research, and disseminate that information to a more targeted audience, which makes your advertising far more efficient with fewer wasted dollars. The role marketing plays has become more comprehensive, including processes such as planning, implementation, and monitoring & analytics (Manning and Reece, 2008). Analytics have become increasingly important because consumers want to measure success and revise the plan of attack if there are any shortcomings. Instead of putting together a plan and putting the product out there for eyes to see, the marketer now needs to make sure the right eyes see it and with a certain amount of frequency.
At the end of the day, the name of the game is value, and what you can bring to the table will ultimately determine your level of success. Offering a superior value guarantees satisfaction which earns loyalty (Day, 1994). Marketing in contemporary America now favors the cultivation of relationships, proving once and for all that it is, and always has been, all about the people.
Research And Why We Love It
Research in marketing is utilized to discover consumer insights which, in turn, drives business decisions and the strategy that is to follow. The world is quickly beginning to quantify and track EVERYTHING (and I do mean everything). This is fantastic news for marketing and advertising. We can use these metrics to our advantage. As a matter of fact, we better use them because it's adapt or die out there.
Fortunately, Mad Men Marketing is ahead of the curve. Not only did we become the first in our market to begin using Rentrak, (a wonderful little tool that lets us target the appropriate media buy to your target audience) but we also offer customizable research delivery and custom-tailored case studies.
Why case studies, you may ask? They explore CAUSATION to underlying principles which allows us to tweek our approach. It is empirical research that investigates real-life phenomena. So while every other agency is out there telling you to “trust them”, we do not remain static in our approach like so many others. We are not so overzealous to think we get it right all the time. NO! We are dynamic. We will get you results, quantify them, and show them to you. We will constantly refine and improve our approach, guaranteeing the highest level of efficiency possible.
In 1985 Michael Porter attempted to improve upon Ricardo's comparative advantage and suggested his own theory of competitive advantage. This emphasizes production, efficiencies, and the acquisition of attributes that can be utilized to outpace the competition. Think of Mad Men Marketing as your Swiss Army Knife or the ace up your sleeve because we are delivering our clients comparables, measurables, and demonstrating causative reasons for market change utilizing a number of inputs.
In short, when you perform research, and you can deliver the goods to your client, you're allowing them to track progress….no matter how small it may be. This keeps clients abreast of changing market conditions and keeps them competitive in their industry.
OINKs, DINKs, and WOOFs
During my musings about who thrives in the contemporary economic landscape, I was reminded of several acronyms. I've isolated these 3 as a few of the top categories that generally succeed, financially speaking. Not surprisingly, those who are more career-oriented instead of family oriented generally fair better than those who have children. OINKs= One Income No Kids; DINKs= Dual Income No Kids; WOOFs= Well-Off Old Farts (the latter of which I altered slightly to make myself chuckle).
My generation has been plagued by a job force that is often underqualified and overpaid, but by virtue of being the first to arrive on the scene, are able to enjoy lucrative jobs that offer healthcare, dental, retirement, etc… In an effort to appear less cynical, I will offer up my own mother as an example. She had no education other than high school. She was a computer analyst or some such thing for the Illinois Department of Corrections for 25 years. The funny thing about this is that she lacks computer skills. My mother enjoyed a paycheck of around 42,000/year and retired at the age of 48.
In contrast to her success, I know multiple people with master's degrees that can't claim a salary that high with that kind of job security. Having a post-baccalaureate degree has become relatively cliché and doesn't yield the financial stability that it once did. I've known law school graduates that have had to tend bar for 3 years before procuring a job. I even had a professor with a PhD from Ohio State tell me that she currently makes 53,000/year as a professor at a university and went up against 198 other applicants with backgrounds from Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford. The only other job offer she received was from a school in St. Louis which offered a laughable 38,000/year. Until the present job climate changes for the better, I will harbor a great deal of contempt for the hiring practices of old, and the longevity of the baby boomers.
Perception is Key
His head is directly in the center of the picture, you can see his ear, followed by his body to the right. Once you've found it – you will always see it. Your brain cannot unlearn what it has already seen. It makes a lasting impression on how you now perceive the picture.
So what does this say about our perceptions of other experiences in the world? For one, this clearly means that initially, our eyes have the ability to see things without our brain having the ability to perceive what the image is telling us (especially if what is encountered is unfamiliar) – and once we are able to make a perception, it is difficult for our brain to unlearn this new found impression. Are things always what they seem, or can we repurpose what was once perceived as a jumbled mess, into useful information once we understand it?
As a psychology major, sensation and perception were my two favorite subjects of study. They were my main focus once I really delved into my program (as well as conditioning and learning). All topics that have become ever more relevant as I explore the field of advertising and human relations. Perception is the key. You've heard the saying 'you never get a second chance at a first impression', but what influences that first “impression”? What is the impression based upon? Well, it's primarily based on how we have perceived a situation; how the interaction has impressed itself upon our brain through our eyes, ears, nose, skin, and mouth I suppose… (might as well include all senses here). Or can it be something else entirely? Would you be willing to admit that preconceived notions have an overwhelming effect on how we perceive our world around us, enabling or disabling our impressions of what we experience? Deep, isn't it…?
So, what does this mean for our industry? Well, it means everything. The way people perceive certain interactions affects the consumer, the client, the agency, the vendors… and the list goes on! If you see a billboard, and the image does not immediately appeal to you, do you even bother reading what it has to say? Sure you saw the sign, but did it make its impression? A bad one maybe… but that's it. What about those hilarious commercials we see on TV, the ones you can't, for the life of you, remember what they were advertising… All your brain received from that visual stimulation was “funny”. Lest we forget to mention the most important of all… human interaction. Email is taking over, and have you noticed how the written word can seem so much more biting than the spoken word… Why is that?
You can't control how things are going to be perceived, that's the brain's job. But, you do have the ability to control your responses, decide the relevance of your perception, the context and respond accordingly… And, when working in this industry, the goal is to please the client and catch the consumer, it's best to understand that you have perceptual influence, and knowing how to influence perception is the key determining factor in the road to success.
The Misconception With Auto Dealerships
Throughout my life, I've exposed myself to many career opportunities. In my early 20's, I decided to try my hand at selling cars. The good news is that the training was first rate, and the business practices employed by my dealership, in a purely ETHICAL sense, were right in line with my own set of moral values. The bad news, at least for the dealership that invested in me, was that I was not cut out for auto sales. Now that I'm in a place in my life where I can captivate the masses with the power of the written word, I feel this is an appropriate time to dispel a couple myths.
1. Those salesmen that approach you at a big dealership are likely new to the trade or at least new to the dealership. Veteran sales personnel make a great deal of their sales on repeat business and new people take walk-ups. Statistics show that 33% of people who purchase a car will go back to the last place they bought if they were reasonably satisfied. Don't be intimidated by those that approach you. Some of them may be just as nervous as you.
2. The purchase of a brand new automobile does NOT make the dealership a ton of money. The sale of a new car will often only fetch a profit of 1,000-1,500 dollars. The money is made in USED car sales and in AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE (which segues beautifully into my next point).
3. The service side is the backbone of any auto dealership. Right now, there is a big problem in the industry and all of the oil changes and brake jobs are getting lost to quick lube businesses and tire centers. Part of the reason? Tire centers and quick lube businesses ADVERTISE their ability to make auto repairs whereas dealerships tend to advertise only the inventory they currently have, which would make your commercial obsolete fairly quickly.