#TBT: You Are Your Marketing

Happy #TBT! Here’s an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: You Are Your Marketing. [This post was originally published in March 2009.]

Become your own marketing. I’ll give you a few examples of this that should illustrate what I’m saying.

• The Prius is its own advertising. There’s a reason they built it as ugly as a toaster. They were trying to demonstrate visibly that this was a different car and that the reasons to buy it were not the same as for an ordinary car. Think about it: People willing to pay the price for a small luxury car to get a rather modest economy car have their reasons. It can’t be saving money, since the premium on the car wipes out all future savings on gas, so it must be more about making a purchase that improves the world. The way the car looks just reinforces the idea that the buyer is doing it for the good of the earth.

• Pinkberry is its own marketing. From the name, to the look of the stores, to the unconventional take on frozen yogurt, it’s a concept that for its core audience is simply irresistible. People feel compelled to tell others about it and in so doing “romance” themselves into loving Pinkberry more.

• Barack Obama’s campaign was its own marketing. Yes, I know he spent nearly a billion dollars on advertising, but that was only after he had momentum. He was able to accumulate and spend those resources because of the strength of the support base he built as his own marketing. In a way, it’s like Pinkberry: People who supported him liked everything about him. If he had been named Robert Jones, for example, it wouldn’t have been the same. Beyond that, he has that wonderful speaking voice, he’s young, handsome and healthy and seemed to personally represent the kind of future that a lot of people wanted to see. Altogether, it was a very strong value proposition, and once he had the resources to pound home his message with marketing dollars, it was over.

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