The greatest economy on the planet

When you look at the eclectic mix of marketing tactics that are employed by some US companies in a single month, rather than seeing a single cohesive campaign, it looks more like the uncensored whiteboard from a free form word association marketing brainstorm session. In my mind, I imagine that the marketing team locked itself in a cupboard one day with plenty of caffeine, high-carbonate snacks and erasable markers and the conversation went something like this.


“We need to sell more stuff. Let’s brainstorm.”
“I think we should start selling toys again. ”
“How are we going to compete with Toys ‘R Us and Wal-Mart?”
“Sell them cheaper.”
“Sell them earlier.”
“Before Halloween.”
“Before Labor Day.”
“Before the Fourth of July.”
“Fourth of July is a poor holiday for us anyway.”
“What could we do with July?”
“Everybody’s doing discounts. We need some discounts.”
“Freebies are the new discount.”
“Contests are the old freebies.”
“We don’t need old, we need young.”
“Young adults.”
“Young kids.”
“If we want kids, then we need to get Ronald McDonald.”
“Perhaps a cheaper minor Disney celebrity.”
“The cheapest advertising is social media.”
[IN UNISON] “Facebook.”
“Our core customers don’t even own computers.”
“Senior citizens month.”
“That’s too long. They’ll get exhausted.”
“Senior citizens week.”
“Senior citizens day. They get a day.”
“Okay, good ideas. Let’s censor.”
“Who put out the permanent markers instead of the erasable ones?”

“So what about August?”
“I’m exhausted from July.”
“I don’t even know who we’re trying to BE any more.”
“We’re trying to BE employed.”
“Right. How about Mardi Gras in August?”
“August is National Catfish Month. Can we do something with that?”
“It’s also National Water Quality Month.”
“It’s Romance Awareness Month!”
“We could have an Every Day is Valentne’s Day promotion!”
“Did you SEE our February sales figures?”
“August is also National Foot Health Month.”
“Free foot screenings. That would bring in our core customer base.”
“Free foot screenings for a month.”
“Foot Screening Week with discounts on feet-related stuff.”
“Foot Screening Day. They get a day.”
“Ok, ok. Let’s see what we’ve got here…”
“Who put the permanent markers out again?”

See, even in the greatest economy on the planet, there’s no talk of customer groups, of tailoring promotions to different segments of the market, of using customer knowledge to create promotional activity that will be valued by the customer, of using differnet media to reach different groups…….

Is there any wonder they are in the s**t they are.

A little advance planning can make such a difference.

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