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Marketing Myopia And Its Discontents Published: Sunday, December 14, 1997 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

Since the 1980s, there is a work of art in behavioral sciences called The Marketing Imagination that has been widely praised as a classic, all - inclusive Theodore Levitt on Marketing. What is interesting about this piece of research is the profound challenge to the conventional marketing myopia. The same occurs with another sharp and knowledgeable treatment of this topic by Jay Conrad Levison on Guerrilla Marketing. The point that these two researchers shared is that professionals need to distinguish between facts and fables when designing and implementing a marketing or any other kind of champaign. The incapacity to make such a qualitative distinction could be disastrous to any marketing campaign venture. Let us approach the behavioral foundation of some of these propositions, as gathered by these two serious mentors.

Prospects, clients and customers care more about usable information than about blank space. White space is usually a substitute for powerful ideas, a list of benefits and fertile imagination. Of course, as it has been said, space could be aesthetically pleasing and attractive, but profits are even more delightful. Thus, the proposal to have a lot of white spaces in advertisements, brochures and other printing material may not be as soundable as some people think. We have tested this hypothesis in the design of our business cards and invariably we get a very positive response from the general public. The argument that is better to use short copy because people just won`t read long ones deserves comments. People read long books, long articles and long letters. They will read whatever seems interesting and the more they are interested, the more they read. So the challenge is for constructing a interesting information presentation . The same thing happens with the myth that television time cost too much. Cable television and market competition has obliterated this traditional perception.

Sometimes it is believed that is better to sell the sizzle, not the steak. Our own experience is a good testimony to what are the real behavioral facts, that when implemented can produce the results. Sell the solution, the profound knowledge, not the sizzle. The easiest way to sell anything is by being capable of demonstrating it is a solution to a problem. If designers look for the sizzle and not the problem, they are on the wrong track. Your prospects might appreciate the sizzle, but in reality they are looking eagerly to write checks for solutions.

In a highly accelerated society people may cultivate the perception that a truly great marketing campaign is a one minute management venture. Sales and limited-time offers work instantly. These will attract the curiosity of customers, but they won`t be loyal. Great marketing means creating a desire for your products and services in qualified prospects` minds, and then nurturing your offers with sales and limited-time offers. A general and empirical proposition is that the best marketing efforts take a long time to establish themselves. That is why, when recently asked by a distinguished company if they should change their relatively new marketing campaign (which we thought was intelligently orchestrated), our recommendation was to give it more time!

Again, in the entertainment community it is thought that marketing should amuse. Yes, show business should amuse, but marketing should sell your offering! Indeed, we know more than that! Traditional thinking nurtures this myth by presenting awards based on glitzy and glitter, humor and originality, special effects and killer jungles. Awards should be given for customer delight and profits increases alone. The only thing that should be considered in customer delight as impacting the bottom line. Equally, the longer marketing promotes a product or service, the better. Intelligent designers create plans that can guide their efforts for five or ten years, even longer. Would marketing undertakings be more successful if they constantly change their strategies. Not so. A core message needs time to develop.

On the other hand, common sense postulates that marketing is successful if it is memorable. However, the truth is that marketing is successful if it moves the product or the service at a profit. Consequently, it is wrong to say that bad publicity is better than no publicity. Bad publicity can be bad for the organization. People engage in gossiping, especially about businesses that have "done something so wrong", the media exposes it. To the extent possible, it is necessary to avoid bad publicity because it spreads faster than wildfire. Moreover, it counts to make an honest profit, but good taste, sensitivity and strategic - cognition also counts. Marketing, as part of mass communications and behavioral influences, is part of the evolutionary process aiming for focus, visible and dramatic results. It should educate, enlighten and influence human behavior.

Marketing myopia is the underscoring of the catastrophic results of being product - oriented rather than customer or investor oriented.

No amount of contemporary marketing - behavioral science will work without the great powers of marketing imagination and high spirits. Therefore, there is no need to offend anybody, but to present the message carefully for the benefits of the customers. If it does that and also earns profits we have exercised the marketing imagination.

 


Copyright 1997 QBS, Inc.
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