Monday, March 24, 2008

Marketing vs Content

During the last 7 months or so since contributing in a serious way to this blog, I have learnt a number of things.

1. Its bloody hard work
2. Don't ever underestimate how intense competition can get
3. Loyal readers are why I continue
4. Marketing can be more important than content (even though I hope I have
improved my content over the last 7 months)

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Marketing such as this, helps push products that
have little real benefit for the consumer but sell
more because of the appeal of its advertised image

While the first point maybe obvious to those seasoned writers who have been doing this for years, and business leaders should know instinctively the second point. Point number three is more of a personal nature but it is the importance of marketing that I wish to principally discuss here.

When one thinks of the triumph of marketing over content, ones interest naturally leans to the granddaddy of all when it comes to marketing, Coca Cola.

The advertising of the sugar, water, caffeine and CO2 concoction has been filled with much mystique and hype since the product began and hasn't ceased in this way in the product's 100 plus years of existence.

The origins of Coke's marketing success comes from those traveling charlatans who used to go from town to town in the USA, boasting of the properties of the latest elixir that would "cure all".

In the case of Coke it started as one of these types of elixirs but it at least had a bit of a pick me up quality to it, from the sugar and caffeine, and other substances in its earlier guise.

The early backers seized on this traveling salesman mystique and it has been used and refined over the years to the point where Coke is the most recognised brand in the world, and has been for many years.

A huge amount of marketing dollars were used to push the fizzy water over the last 100 years and the ploys used to keep the drinks mystery and image have been many and varied.

During the company's boom years of the 1940s, American soldiers were supplied with the sweet brown stuff by Coca Cola wherever the war took them and the image that Coke was the epitome of fighting for the "American dream" was then cemented in the minds of not just Americans, but many other countries that fought side by side them.

Clever marketing on Coke's part.

The fact that this product, if consumed in large quantities, can, make you tubby, rot your teeth and has no benefit to the body in a nutritional way is largely forgotten because the consumer is constantly bombarded with images of attractive, athletic, young people enjoying the "Coke lifestyle".

A whole host of dangerous and worthless products from Cigarettes to most home cleaning products, are successful because of great and or constant marketing.

It is a masterstroke of marketing an image for a product that has no real benefit to its consumers.

I know, they say consumers these days can see past the hype and can tell quality but the coke test proves that millions just cant or chose to ignore the realities.
The world's most successful brand, Coca Cola, achieved
its longevity not through its magnificent product but
from expert marketing and branding.

While I'm clearly not comparing my writing to Coke's success, I do wonder sometimes about lesser quality product succeeding over the hyped up marketing of the likes of my mate from the Tarawera empire, Phillip MacCallister, who's marketing budget must surely be bigger than my mortgage payments, which are quite considerable!

The Share Investor Blog isn't being advertised on Google, but I probably should. I don't spend any money on marketing but I do spend time trying to get it out there for free so people can read it.

I think it is relatively interesting, and its content of a sufficiently good quality. It is getting a steady increase in readership as the months go by, but I still think it deserves better numbers when I compare it to other websites of a similar nature with larger audiences.

My ignorance of the importance of marketing before I started the Share Investor Blog is clearly apparent to me now. Here was I thinking, in my best Kevin Costner impression, "if I write it they will come".

How hopelessly wrong I was.

The importance of marketing cannot be underestimated, especially when it comes to a new business venture. While it is fine to have a wonderful product, that is not always enough. People actually have to know you have a great product.

Those people at Sony had a superior product in the Betamax Video player in the 1980s but the competition had more marketing muscle but an inferior product.

We all know what happened to Betamax.

My lesson learned!

**Footnote: Look for an exciting new permanent addition to the blog over the next 2 months. Legal reasons prevent me from telling you more.

Related Share Investor reading

Marketing Burger Fuel's Future
Pumpkin Patch vs Burger Fuel

c Share Investor 2008

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