ADM logoADM Marketing & Research Consulting
              News From The Top Floor
In This Issue
Marketing Arc
Upcoming Events
Quick Links
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
September 2013

Cropped 2011 head shotIs It Really Fall Already? 


Not yet, but quite soon. 

I am confident that you will forgive me for having taken off August. (Some may actually be grateful!)  We've done some travelling--we managed to dodge both heat waves here--and are ready to begin another year. The kids are going back to school (some have already started!), organizations are starting up their meeting calendars again, and companies are looking at the last few months of 2013 and wondering where the year went!


If you have been contemplating some research on a new brand or communications campaign, give us a call--we've got time! 


Marvels of Marketing


Viking in ReykjavicI don't know if the original settlers of Iceland invented marketing, but they were certainly early adopters. Two Viking farmers (looking at the fellow to the right, that seems like an oxymoron but it isn't) arrived around 874 and found a verdant land with a climate moderated by the Gulf Stream. They promptly named the place Iceland to discourage others from coming there. Instead, they pointed to a larger land mass just to the West and called it Greenland, although the names should rightly have been reversed. This reverse marketing ploy limited competition for years. Vikings were masters of aversion therapy. A brief look into history will show you that the people in Britain, Ireland, Lombardy, and Normandy, among others, knew this very well.


The evidence of Viking travels shows up in DNA tracing, a popular course of study here because of the homogeneous population. It seems that 60% of Icelandic women can trace their maternal heritage to Ireland while 80% of males trace their patriarchy to Norway. Hmmm. So how did all those Irish women wind up in Iceland, and did they emigrate voluntarily? I doubt the Icelandic Vikings spent much time or money on travel brochures.


Fast forward about 1100 years and we find Icelandair, the national airline, employing a brilliant scheme to enhance tourism to their country: fly anywhere to or from Europe and stop over in Reykjavik at no additional cost. And their fares are quite competitive with other European airlines that serve the same markets. Perfect.


So we went to Reykjavik on our way to Copenhagen. Although it was July, the temperature never went much above 60 degrees, and it rained a lot. But we found interesting geology (tectonically, Iceland is half in North America and half in Europe!) and charming people but very high prices (an average dinner entree was $35-$40). I now know why so many visitors to New York shop at high end department stores and think they are getting a bargain (a marketing hint to East Coast retailers). You can also visit Iceland's geo-thermal spas and energy plants.


Iceland is a testament to the adaptability of human beings to their environments, and to the success of clever marketing.

Marketing Arc

The Three "A"s That Spell SuccessBridge metaphor      


No matter what you are selling or promoting, success requires three phases:

  • Awareness
  • Acceptance
  • Action

Awareness is fundamental: no one can buy what you are selling if he or she doesn't know it exists, or where they can find it. Awareness includes:

  1. Name recognition, or brand awareness: if the product is sold through retail or e-tail channels, you want people to ask for it by name.
  2. Logo recognition: ideally, you want your audience to recognize the brand simply by seeing its logo--regardless of where they might see it.
  3. Location, location, location: the proverbial three things that are essential for success if you are a bricks and mortar organization. That can include hospitals and other healthcare facilities, banks and credit unions. Nowadays, it can include online presence and your web address. Ideally, your web address is simple to remember and not too long to type.
Acceptance: While awareness is necessary, if it evokes a negative perception, that's not good. Acceptance includes:
  1. Determining your audiences--primary, secondary, and possibly tertiary: those groups that are the most likely to purchase your product or service. 
  2. Brand image: the sum of attributes prompted by the stimulus of the brand name or logo. Naturally, you want your brand to have a positive image. If it doesn't you have your work cut out for you (see above).
  3. Distribution: awareness and a good image will not lead to sales if people cannot find where the product is sold--whether that means bricks and mortar or online locations. Even services require good distribution--is there an agent/rep in the area? Make sure that customers in areas where you are advertising or promoting can gain access to the product or service.
  4. Reason to buy: Just because you have a fresh, modern logo, and a good brand image, they don't automatically yield sales. People have to know why they are buying, even if it is an impulse purchase. The best appeals, in my experience, are ones that offer to solve a problem. Any problem. It could be a health problem, a social problem, a financial problem, a dietary problem, or a psychological problem. (Excuse me--I mean issue. I forgot that no one has problems anymore, only issues and challenges.)

Action: this is what all your marketing initiatives seek to trigger.

  1. Make it as easy as possible for customers/clients to buy. This may mean credit cards, debit cards, online purchasing, or home delivery.
  2. Be as transparent as possible about the terms of the sale. No one hates small print, much less a "bait & switch" tactic, more than I. When customers/clients see surcharges or unexpected added fees, they may just walk away--especially online. 
  3. Be as responsive as possible to questions and complaints. Most customers are forgiving when they believe you are really listening and trying to ameliorate a difficult situation. Customer service/call centers should treat each customer as if he or she were the only customer.
  4.  Whenever possible, follow up in some way. Depending on your particular product or service, this can mean a phone call, a satisfaction survey (which can be done online easily and inexpensively), or direct mail offers for add-ons, warranties, or even other products. 

If you are promoting a new product, you might be able to jump start this process if it is a line extension of a well-known and well-regarded product, but make sure you have covered all of these steps. The worst thing you can do is to assume (you know what the first three letters spell!) success based on your own market assessment or those of your investors, senior staff, or parent company. There are examples as long as my arm (probably longer) of products produced by very well known companies that failed because the market was incorrectly assessed--or even accessed.


Understanding who your market is, how it works, and what motivates it are the keys to unlocking the gold at the end of this arc.

Upcoming Events
September 18th, 8am-10am


IABC/LI presents its first full program of the season: "Social Media Management Tools that Make Your Job Easier." This is a most important program, whether you work at a corporation, an agency, or you are a freelancer. It can be a challenge to navigate the Social Media scene. This program will get you on track. The sponsor, Hofstra University Continuing Education, is also hosting the event, held at the University Club, 1000 Fulton Avenue, Uniondale. Go to the new web site for more details and to register.
September 10th, 8:30-10:00am
Women In Communications holds its next "Coffee and Conversations" event at the headquarters of Scholastic, 557 Broadway (between Prince and Spring Sts), in New York. The topic is Women In The Workplace, and it features an all-star panel. You can find out more and register at their web site.
September 19th, 6-8pm
The NY American Marketing Association, hosts "Marketing Childrens' Books In The Digital Era," a most timely topic, given what we know about Millennials and how facile young children are with all things digital. This meeting will also be held at the offices of Scholastic, and you can visit this web site for more information and to register.

This practice is dedicated to helping companies become knowledge-driven, rather than assumption driven about strategic and tactical decisions concerning lines of business, branding, communications, and various marketing activities. For more information about how we do this, case studies, frequently asked questions about marketing research, and testimonials, please visit our web site:
Ann Middleman