Posted by Alan Nazarelli ● Tue, Jun 23, 2020 @ 10:30 AM

The Blue Moon Orange and Your Marketing Message

This “under the hood” glimpse is sadly missing from technology marketing today.

Companies approve campaigns created by their agencies that show, but do not explain. This is an attempt to make the product look as cool as if were from Apple. You can see Apple imitation in all kinds of tech product marketing to consumers. That is great if you have Apple’s cult following that has now become a mass-cult following.

the Blue Moon orange is brilliant marketing

But most products need more. Education needs to be part of the message and is frequently lost in the shuffle.

There are many other cool beer concepts that the executives at Blue Moon could have approved, but that would have made them just like another other beer ad-you remember the ad, but are not quite sure what product it is for. But Blue Moon decided on educating the customer on something they felt the customer would be interested in knowing.

So what are the “missing in action” ingredients in technology marketing campaigns today and how is it impacting success in having the messages land?

The answers are contained in a book first published in 1923 and featured this month under Classics Revisited: Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins.  As the review states, the principles today are ignored, forgotten or were simply not learned in the first place.

Marketers I talk to frequently feel they have little and diminishing control over the purchase decision process with all the information sources influencing consumers. Yet an examination of their marketing campaigns reveals very little effort to educate and inform.

A case in point is Windows Phone. I recently switched to a Windows phone after having been an iPhone user for seven years. I am an evangelist for products I like, it’s in my nature to talk about that (that’s why we feature a Wine of the Month in our newsletter!), the instinct to share is a natural human instinct that marketers can and need to tap into. Yet, not a single person I have spoken to (that didn’t work for Microsoft or already own a Windows phone) had any clue about the features I love best, such as the live tiles. All they know is that this is a phone to be avoided-no one uses it, there are no good apps for it and that getting a Windows phone would make them unhappy. Yet, none of the marketing I have seen for the product have given a detailed glimpse or an “under the hood” look at the product. The marketing campaigns the company seems to approve make the product look “cool like Apple”. To that end, Samsung is doing a great job with its “6 ≥ 6” for its new phone.

What are the antidotes to this problem?

  1. All technology marketers need to read and deeply internalize the marketing principles and disciplines espoused by two seminal books-Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins and Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy. As the reviewer says about Claude Hopkins' Scientific Advertising: It should be in your hands daily. Underline it. Quote it. Memorize it. Pledge allegiance to it. Defend it at all costs.
  2. Take on an “under the hood” mindset. Coming back to our beer example, the breakthrough beer marketing successes have been about answering “under the hood” questions: What are the ingredients? How is it made? What kind of hops? Where is the water from? 
  3. Taking this approach to technology products: What is special about the glass? Where did it come from? What is special about the interface? How was it designed? How long did it take? Why was it designed that way? Listing these items under specifications is not enough, these components need to be part of the core marketing message. Image advertising is sufficient when your consumers will line up around the block year after year for every contraption you produce, but a different story when you are the challenger.


Alan Nazarelli is President and CEO of Silicon Valley Research Group, a global market research and strategy development firm focused on the needs of technology companies.



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