The Art of Marketing

By Samuel Muiruri | Jan. 6, 2020 | Opinion Piece


This article will include a few things I've learned about how to market a product, they might be obvious to someone who's been doing this for a while but can prove useful to someone who's trying to figure out how to make their product connect more with the target market.

I'll start this with an example, let's say you were browsing for something to watch on youtube and saw one about a breakdancer or a playlist of something you might be interested in. Starting with the playlist of let's say some tutorial on how to do say design a home theatre from scratch, there's a rule that I tend to notice the further down you go down the playlist the fewer views you get. It applies also for how long someone watches the videos, the longer it is, the higher the drop off rate is likely to be. It's one of the reasons seasoned Youtubers will make sure your engaged from the get-go and will keep you engaged for as long as possible avoiding boring moments in the script as much as possible, the only exception being for people who's content is too complex to turn into a rant like a lecture and making it into a fun mash of video editing magic and background music with scene changes is too much work for an hour-long video.

In the same spirit, I'll get to the point now before someone reading this feels it's a clickbait and moves on. So let's say you have your product your trying to get your market interested in, you probably have a website and you also likely have google analytics added to the site. Let's assume now after rounds of advertising using any mediums available; billboards, radio, online advertising, word of mouth and so on you have so many visitors coming to your website a day. Now you want to increase that number since there's a rule: a fraction of that are going to be your paying customers, the others are just interested clients. So you want to make that bubble bigger and in the process get the word out and make more money. Usually without advertising your site likely has an average number of visitors a day, this might fluctuate because of things like when you post, might on specific days, when offers appear maybe it's on Friday and so on. With that average when you do some advertising or just share a post on social media, you'll get a spike that levels off back to the average when the post is no longer "hot".

Here are a few things you could do to get your average up, let's say for example this was a phone like Tecno. It's not a phone you'd consider to be high end and they might want to target people who tend to use high-end phones. Just to point out the obvious, the brand has cheap and expensive phones and the more expensive might be cheaper than flagship phones but perform just as well. So the idea is for someone who might want to buy or is always interested in flagship phones, assume they've likely gone as far as to know the specs of the phones might be interested to know that this phone cost half as much but has the same features. But is it good, is it durable, does it have some defects? Let's assume he's got mixed results from this, some online posts of people complaining vs a person he knows who owns it and says it works fine. So he's somewhere there in between not sure if he buys a model it will have bugs, let's assume this person hasn't even thought to ask if they offer a warranty. What would you do a company if you wanted to target these undecided market, let's say people who've used Samsung's pretty much all their lives and want to try another phone type and don't mind if it's cheaper provided it performs just as well.

Okay so you need to build your perception from a cheap phone to a high-end phone, the rule of thumb though is try and avoid sounding like a sales pitch. We all hate people who have a sales pitch, they want to sell you something you didn't ask for and they tend to be annoying, overly aggressive and their personality might feel less authentic once you think about it, fake smiles and it just forces you to rebel and ask yourself what isn't he telling you about this. You'd rather leave, Google the product and if you find it's got good reviews then you might buy it. Basically his sales pitch isn't enough. The proven better technique is telling a story, the ad might be about a child celebrating his birthday and the moment is so beautiful it fills you with euphoria then the dad presents the child with his first Rolex and then roll the credits "for the moments to remember". It's not direct, a story within the story. To hate the product's sales pitch you have to hate the story and often it's so good that it would be a taboo, on a basic level in our psyche we know it so even if I don't like Rolex or watches, in general, it works to prevent a negative image and response.

So what does Tecno do to show they've got a high-end product, with the budget they can afford for advertising they find something the targetted market associates with most, in this case football. You have them in a scenario, as organic as possible so it feels like it's less about the phones they're using but the interaction they're having between them. To a fan, it's going to be memorable, it's seeing another side of a person they admire and they will likely then just as easily associate the admiration they have for them to the phone and the company. You want to prove your phone's camera is good as others, it's part of the story but the story has a story within in, why are they taking pictures? And is that something people can relate with? Imagine on the other hand if the scene was about partying and a lifestyle that shows they're super-rich and successful, you risk having a sense of resentment in the person watching this and as natural as this emotion is, it can backfire in the same way and make someone feel that something cheap is expensive. As if buying this is pretending to be a class your not, this form of reverse psychology works for some products where something that doesn't really have a unique feature like an iPhone starts to be assumed to be of a certain class and you then loose out on those who don't want to pretend to be of a higher class especially when they're not but at the same time if you lock into a higher class you can have those who want to "fake it till you make it" desire your product more, providing a market that can continue to support itself.

But let's say you have a more modest marketing budget, I'd recommend to ways to get your word out.

1. Sex Appeal

Either you, a co-worker or someone your willing to hire to be the face of the brand, a friend and so on has this. They may or may not have an online presence but what's more important is they need to have that appeal and it needs to feel natural, not camera shy or awkward when being recorded and to a degree also not a diva, they'll eventually try and outshine your message and want all the attention back to them. To sell Sex Appeal could be as simple as having someone attractive advertise your product, one take and that's it. But if you want to take it a step further your persona, in this case, needs to have a life of their own, I'm assuming then your not hiring them fulltime but you've coached them to have an online presence that attracts the opposite sex more and more.

Once they become someone you'd want to know more about, they spill more and more about themselves and when organically their posts gets more views, like, retweets, shares your product can easily be inserted there and it will get as much exposure. It's the same thing that people do with celebrities and other popular people on social media, they pay them to share a product. The idea here would be having someone who knows how to share this in a way that feels less like a sales pitch. An example would be if this person does video blogging she talks about the product as a recommendation, now it doesn't sound like a sponsored thing that she might want to try out. Later on comes her review after using it, that can spin around to having visited your shops showing how things work there and eventually even inviting you the owner or a rep to talk about it. You seem to be only interested in talking about the features and not the price, unless they ask which they might not, it could be a strategy or not. Things that tend to be fairly cheap tend to share the price while more expensive stuff keeps an air of mystery around it.

2. Skill Appeal

Just like football, you could find an event that is popular and common, let's say you choose to work with an up and coming breakdancer in the region, if he offers dance classes you can come in a sponsor, you want to record his sessions, get him clout and in the process have him using one of your products. This is what happens with sports shoes for any sport and the same can apply for this, the only thing you need to know is it will only work for those who are interested in the product. Let's say you were the monster drink and you offered free drinks for his current session, they would be drinking it at all times and it would feel more natural than paid and bought for. On his channel that's the view, it would look like, on yours, it's promotion so it also pays to know if the person has clout on a market your trying to target and so here you can shine a spotlight on a new upcoming talent and in the same way anyone who's interested in who he is will also be exposed to your product. It will be subliminal and it can be as simple as a thought "I need to buy this drink, the next time I go shopping" and that thought switches back to the actor. 

If you think about why products like Monster need to continuously advertise is they need you to build a habit, they need to constantly remind you to buy it and build a habit. Once you buy it and throw away the can, you might not buy it again if you never saw it anywhere especially here if you have had it multiple times so it's not new to you and it's part of your mundane life. But if reminded you might, on the other hand other products like a phone have a longer shelf life and a longer time to build brand loyalty as you use it every day. Take into consideration how your product works and it will help design your way of advertising.