Vantage Blog


Time to break some rules...

Why is so much marketing bland and plain uninspiring? Are we trying to bore customers into buying? Lists of services masquerading as advertising. Images that make clip art look good. Websites that if you blanked out the logo would read exactly the same as all the others.

It seems to me that many businesses play by a set of unspoken category rules. Rules that restrict and contain, rather than excite and enthuse potential customers. 

If you are a services business you’d better list each and every one of your individual offerings – much like a restaurant does on its menu.  If you are a car company you’re more than likely to show shots of your pride and joy only in beautiful or rugged landscapes (sedan or 4WD respectively!).  Copy that sounds and looks the same.  Emails, proposals, business cards, newsletters and brochures all from a cookie cutter template. 

I am not arguing creativity for creativity’s sake.  Marketing needs to be targeted and relevant - and hopefully hit the sweet spot.  But with over 300 commercial messages bombarding customers every day sometimes you need to be really clever to make a memorable impression.  One that will engage and hopefully cause a reaction (like clicking through, picking up the phone or even buying!). 

Here’s a great example... 

SKF is a Swedish company selling such things as bearings, seals, and lubrication systems. 

Not very exciting right? Looks like they play by the category rules of using well lit product shots with reams of technical information (though obviously there is a place for that in the mix). 

Not much opportunity to stand out?

Well here’s what they sent to some of their customers on Valentine’s Day...

Certainly not playing by the rules! I can just imagine that even the most conservative of procurement managers cracking the faintest of smiles on receiving this post card. Connecting on an emotional level in a sea of sameness.

So are you playing by the category rules? If so time to break some and cut through the clutter.

by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing

This article is linked to James' Google+ profile

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