Who's Your Marketing Really About?

It's getting easier and easier to spot relevant marketing these days. Not because there's more of it, but that it sticks out by its rarity.

The best work makes it very clear that the marketer has decided to shift the focus from what they're about to what their audience is about.

An excellent example of this is a current VW print ad where a model has tripped on the catwalk of a fashion show. The ad is for VW's entry-level vehicles and speaks to this Next Top Model demo directly.  This is kind of a big deal in an industry where the vehicle, with limited exception, is always the hero.

Cars are a collection of wheels, doors, knobs, gears and other mundane things that propel it. In 2013, it's getting harder to tell many of them apart by their body stying, too. Jaguar looks like Ford, Hyundai looks like BMW, Volvo looks like Honda, Mini looks like Mini. With all things equal, what's going to sell this rolling collection of parts?

Relevance, that's what. Realizing that consumers buy when the product or service is about them.

Skittles is candy. Candy has precious little feature benefit, yet those clever people at Mars manage to sell the hell out of those little gems. They don't talk about flavour, size, convenience, hunger management, no product benefits whatsoever. But the brand has everything its audience desires: randomness, irony, humour and a touch of sketchy.

Everything you touch turns into Skittles

The tragedy here is that some readers will say well, we can't all be Skittles but totally miss the point. The Skittles example serves to illustrate the uptake potential when a brand works to be relevant to its audience.

Being relevant to an audience doesn't take a lot of effort and it doesn't need to break the bank. But the ego might need to be broken a bit. Remembering that to sell an idea, a product or a service requires that we make our work about them, the audience, not us.