Marketing Game: How the World's Best Companies Play to Win

Overview

If you've ever suspected your competition knew something you didn't, you were probably right. In this breakthrough book, marketing veteran Eric Shulz shows you the most powerful marketing techniques and strategies being used by today's marketing leaders.

Whether you own a small business or are employed at a large corporation, The Marketing Game will work for you. You'll learn in a clear and straightforward way...

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Overview

If you've ever suspected your competition knew something you didn't, you were probably right. In this breakthrough book, marketing veteran Eric Shulz shows you the most powerful marketing techniques and strategies being used by today's marketing leaders.

Whether you own a small business or are employed at a large corporation, The Marketing Game will work for you. You'll learn in a clear and straightforward way how easy it can be to outsmart your competitor.

The Marketing Game is packed with new marketing revelations, including:

Brainstorming techniques proven to be five times more effective at getting great results

Product positioning and branding strategies that will give you a competitive advantage

The Six Deadly Sins of Advertising - traps to avoid when communicating with your customers

The Three Ingredients of Great Promotions

The Big Bang Theory for creating sensational special events and promotions

The world's greatest marketing companies - from Coca-Cola to Procter & Gamble to Disney - succeed because they know their customers and how to reach them. With The Marketing Game as your guide, you'll be able to use the same techniques to create your own unbeatable marketing strategy.

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What People Are Saying

Bart Conner
Eric's down-to-earth writing style and let-me-show-you-how-you-can-do-it approach was inspirational! The Marketing Game helped me to see how a small to medium size business owner like me can apply and use the Secrets of the Game principles of the big corporations. I enjoyed the many examples of what works, and even more importantly, what doesn't work in today's business environment.
— (Bart Conner, Olympic Gold Medallist)
David Glenn
A street-smart book for every corporate executive. The Marketing Game is a stimulating, thought-provoking guide to successful marketing strategies. Eric Schulz pulls no punches with his unbeatable combination of personal insights and common-sense approach to today's marketing challenges and opportunities. Any business, regardless of its products or services, can benefit from his unique perspective.
— (David Glenn, President, Freddie Mac )
Doug Hall
I've seen Eric Schulz perform marketing miracles over the past decade, and often have wondered just how he does it. Now I know. With wit & wisdom Eric teaches the theories and tactics that help the rich mega corporations get richer. Read. Learn. Take action. The Marketing Game tells you everything you need to know to succeed.
— (Doug Hall, Founder & CEO, Eureka! Ranch)
Ed Ryan
The B-school text book (substance) and the practical business best-seller (style) finally meet. The Marketing Game is a comprehensive and detailed guide to marketing filled with common-sense, real world wisdom that most how-to marketing books lack. Follow its Secrets of the Game and you'll be writing your own success story soon.
— (Ed Ryan, Director of Product Marketing, Novell, Inc.)
Sergei Kuharsky
Finally, a marketing book worth keeping, re-reading and referring to. The Marketing Game takes you back to the inescapable, fundamental truths that helps babies sell tires and frogs sell beer — that a sound consumer-driven strategy coupled with inspired execution are what it takes to make a brand and its sales snap, crackle and pop. Buy this book, read it and keep it. Your marketing efforts will be all the wiser and you'll have fun along the way.
— (Sergei Kuharsky, Former Senior Vice President Marketing, MTV Networks)
Timothy Shriver
Marketing, sales and advertising professionals who are looking to broaden their skill set need look no further than The Marketing Game. Eric has created a clear, compelling and comprehensive one-stop shop that will improve anyone's marketing acumen, and is a testimony to the fact that brains (smart strategies) can prevail over brawn (big budgets).
— (Timothy Shriver, Ph.D. President Special Olympics Inc.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580624794
  • Publisher: Adams Media Corporation
  • Publication date: 5/15/2001
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Read an Excerpt


Chapter 4: The Best Kept Secret of Branding

Developing A Relevant Yet Unexpected Strategic Positioning

Suppose you are responsible for developing a marketing campaign for a terrific new car. Where do you begin? You could tell consumers about its luxurious interior or its sporty new look. You could boast about horsepower, safety, handling ability, roominess, or high-tech engineering. Or you could create a product image to appeal to a particular type of driver. Is it big and luxurious like a Cadillac, or irreverent fun like a Miata? Is it as safe and practical as a minivan, or as zippy and well-made as a Volkswagen Beetle?

If you were to produce a TV commercial about this car, you'd have thirty seconds to tell consumers why they should buy it. If your commercial was any good, it would define who you want to buy your car and what the most compelling reasons are that they should want it. You don't have enough time to say that the car is luxurious, roomy, has fine Corinthian leather, is fast, sporty, fun to drive, well engineered and sounds great -- and you probably can't appeal to everyone watching the commercial. So before you review the first commercial storyboard, you would have to make tough choices about what your product is and who it's for.

The way marketers define what it is they want to say about their product and who you are targeting to buy it is accomplished through the development of what's called a strategic positioning statement. This statement is the foundation of all of your consumer communications, including advertising, pricing, packaging, merchandising, promotions, public relations -- anything that reaches the consumer will be shaped by this statement. But despite its far reaching effects, it isn't an opus; it is a simple, clearly stated sentence -- yes, just one sentence -- that defines whom to target and what to say.

Think you need more than just one sentence to contain your thoughts? Then you're trying to say too much, and your message is surely becoming diluted. If you can't say it simply, your consumer can't understand it.

THE ART AND DISCIPLINE OF POSITIONING

Successful marketing companies hone the development of strategic positioning statements to a fine art. They have files full of case studies to indicate what type of strategies work and what type fail. And let's face it, product managers at these companies are very busy people. So how long do you suppose they spend on that one little positioning statement? Forty-five minutes? An entire afternoon?

Try months. Part of the effort is agonizing over every word to make sure that the strategic positioning statement is powerful, compelling, and specific. The real work and worry comes in analyzing the roads not taken. If you position your lipstick as old-time glamour, it can't also be youthful and new, so you'd better be sure that glamour has the bigger audience and stronger appeal. If you position sunglasses as the choice of the stars, you can't also be unbreakable sports lenses or the most comfortable fit. These difficult choices make strategy development the most troublesome task in marketing. It involves more than creative thinking in a vacuum; you must collect and analyze information and consumer learning from every available source, then boil it all down to a simple, clear, consumer-focused positioning that will maximize your product's consumer appeal. Everything the consumer knows and believes about the product is driven from the strategic positioning statement. There is no margin for error.

THE ABC'S OF STRATEGIC POSITIONING

The thinking you invest in your strategic positioning statement is hard work, but the statement itself is as easy as ABC:
Audience
Benefit
Compelling Reason Why (this is actually sentence #2 of the statement)
It's that easy. Undisciplined marketing managers try to hedge their bets by writing the positioning statement as broadly as possible. They hate to make choices about their target audience (wouldn't all consumers love this?) or their key benefit (it slices, dices, does the dishes and walks the dog!). The road not taken haunts them, so they position their product squarely at the fork -- it's a great product for every consumer and every occasion!

Resist this trap. If you product stands for everything, it stands for nothing. Don't be afraid to define your product in the clearest, most intriguing terms possible. Only then will consumers appreciate your benefit and become loyal to your product.

SECRETS OF THE GAME

Top marketers go beyond traditional thinking when developing their strategic positioning statements. They push to find a clear, relevant-yet-unexpected strategic positioning statement that creates a meaningful point of difference and competitive advantage for their product.

The best way to comprehend the power of the relevant-yet-unexpected idea is to look at the results of some great contemporary marketing campaigns that capture this concept.

One of my favorites is that of Dow Bathroom Cleaner. You've seen the commercials for years, with the little Scrubbing Bubbles racing around the bathtub to give it a clean shine. The strategic positioning statement for Dow Bathroom Cleaner is likely something like this: "For homemakers, Dow Bathroom Cleaner is the easy way to get a great, clean shine for your tub and tile. That's because only Dow Bathroom Cleaner contains Scrubbing Bubbles, which cut through the dirt and grime clean to the shine, so you don't have to!"

Note the ABC's of the strategy as follows:

  1. Target audience: homemakers
  2. Unique benefit: the easy way to get a great, clean shine for your tub and tile.
  3. Compelling reason why: because only Dow Bathroom Cleaner contains Scrubbing Bubbles, which cut through the dirt and grime so you won't have to!
This brand positioning has been effective at keeping Dow Bathroom Cleaner in a market leadership position for years, and effectively creates a distinct point-of-difference through the use of Scrubbing Bubbles -- a relevant-yet-unexpected way to address consumers about the product's efficacy. Think about every other household cleaner. Does any bring a clearer visual as to what the product does than Dow Bathroom Cleaner? No. Dow's brand team has created a distinct and defensible point of difference by taking about their product in the most intriguing way possible.

DEVELOPING A UNIQUE MARKET POSITION

To delve deeper into the "relevant-yet-unexpected", let's think about Michelin tires. Recall their advertising campaign featuring a baby inside a Michelin tire, with the copy "Michelin: Because so much is riding on your tires." The strategic positioning statement that led to this execution could be: "For parents with young children, Michelin is the safest tire you can buy to protect the lives of your loved ones. That's because dual-walled Michelin tires perform exceptionally well in all weather conditions, gripping the road so you won't have accidents."

Michelin has a specific target, a clear benefit, and a compelling, believable reason why. Through the insightful strategic decision to use babies as the way to define your loved ones, Michelin came up with a relevant-yet-unexpected way to create consumer appeal versus other tire companies.

Now consider for a moment how different the advertising would look and feel if the strategy were something like this: "For adults 18-45, Michelin tires give you the best performance in any driving situation. That's because dual-walled Michelin tires perform exceptionally well in all weather conditions, gripping the road so you won't have accidents."

The second strategy could easily -- and logically -- have been chosen as the positioning statement. After all, it has the same "reason why" and all the consumer research probably revealed that performance is a compelling consumer benefit. But, alas, this is pretty much how every competitive tire brand is positioned.

So why did the marketing team at Michelin choose the first statement? Because their research, their observations, and their gut instincts told them that the strongest emotional tie consumers have to their tires involves safety for the children they chauffeur (think of all those "Baby on Board" signs that used to be so popular and you'll have to agree). Sure, consumers want good performance, but most of them aren't revving fine-tuned sports cars on slippery mountain roads. They're too busy carpooling or taking the kids to soccer practice. ...

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction xi
Part I Development and Planning
1. Mission IS Possible: Creating a vision of success within the organization 3
2. Mo' Better Brainstorming: Using Stimulus Response to increase productivity and generate great new ideas 17
3. What Consumer Research Won't Tell You: Finding strategic consumer insight outside traditional research methods 27
4. The Best-Kept Secret of Branding: Developing a relevant yet unexpected strategic positioning 41
5. The New Products Underworld: Increasing your chances of new product success 57
Part II Marketing Cornerstones
6. How You Can Know That the Price Is Right: Maximizing profitability can be a difficult journey 75
7. Unfair Advantage: How to Own a Category: Offering the right product mix to consumers 89
8. Simple Steps to Powerful Packaging: Creating differentiation and specialness through packaging initiatives 105
9. Solving the Merchandising and Distribution Mystery: Putting your product in the right place for consumers 121
Part III Consumer Communication
10. Cracking the Code to Great Advertising: The keys to getting great results from your ad agency 137
11. The Six Deadly Sins of Advertising: Common mistakes to avoid at all costs 153
12. Solving the Public Relations Puzzle: It's not about finding dancing elephants to wear your brand name on TV 165
Part IV Promote, Promote and Promote
13. The Hush-Hush World of Trade Promotions: What you can do besides paying feature, display and slotting allowances 183
14. What You Don't Know about Consumer Promotions: Create brand personality, competitive advantage and boost sales 201
15. The Secrets to Effective Sports Sponsorships: Attaching your name to big-time sports is expensive stuff--Here's how to make it pay off 221
16. Concealed Tactics for Leveraging Alliances: Making partnerships work for you 241
17. What Coke Doesn't Want You to Know about Special Events: Secret tactics for getting noticed and standing out in a crowd 259
18. The Hidden Benefits of Licensing: A bigger opportunity than T-shirts and coffee mugs 271
Parting Thoughts 285
Feedback 285
Index 286
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Interviews & Essays

Q: How is The Marketing Game different from the many marketing books already written?

A. As I researched before writing The Marketing Game, I found that most marketing books fall into one of two categories - either they are written by a CEO or Chief Marketing Officer, telling stories of WHAT they'd done to be successful but lacked specific information on HOW they did it; or they are authored by a business school professor / academic, heavily laden with theories and analysis, but short on practical application. The Marketing Game bridges the gap by not only recounting real-life success stories, but then relating how it was done, the strategy behind why it was done, and showing how it was implemented so that others can replicate the success. The Marketing Game can be used successfully by anyone, from a small deli operator to a brand marketer in a multinational corporation. It's written in a way that's easy to understand and is focused on sharing ideas that you can start using today to improve your business results. The Marketing Game takes its point of view from the person who actually has to do the marketing - the person in the trenches - and helps he or she to do it better.



Q: What made you decide to write The Marketing Game?

A: Many people think that big, successful companies find their prosperity by having big budgets, buying their way to the top. Not true. Great companies are successful because they are smarter than their competitors. I've been incredibly blessed to have opportunity to work at three of the world's best marketing companies - Procter & Gamble, Disney, and Coca-Cola. Each of these titans had some of the best and brightest marketing minds in the world working on their businesses, and they found unique ways of marketing their wares that they just don't teach you in business school. I wrote The Marketing Game to share the strategies, tactics and insights I'd both developed and learned while working for these great companies, insights that if applied, can improve anyone's marketing abilities.



Q: You introduce a new consumer learning experience that you call "Knowledge Mining". How does it work?

A: Knowledge Mining is an in-store learning exercise to develop profound consumer understanding about what steers consumers purchase decisions. Its premise is simple. You can't learn about consumers sitting behind your desk staring at research or sales reports. Marketers need to get off their rear-ends and get out into stores to see and analyze what's happening. A store has a wealth of learning available to marketers, yet most just stay in the office, swinging their marketing hammers, trying to build an annual promotion plan. They're like the blind squirrel who every once in a while finds an acorn. The Knowledge Mining exercise is a way that smart marketers can learn things about the consumer their competition will NEVER know, because they're too lazy to do the work to find it.



Q: One of your chapters is entitled "The Six Deadly Sins of Advertising". Aren't there SEVEN Deadly Sins?

A: You're right, there are seven deadly sins, but when it comes to marketing, LUST isn't a sin. In fact, lust works great as a marketing tool. The other deadly sins are alive and lethal however when it comes to marketing. They can cripple your campaign if you're not careful. For example, PRIDE. Many companies get all caught up in trying to put their logo everywhere, thinking that the more someone sees their company name, the more likely they'll be to buy their product. Bigger is better, lights are fantastic. Company executives stand back and admire their work, adoring their own image like the Greek youth Narcissus. In my book, that's lazy marketing. Just sticking your name in front of someone isn't communicating anything to them. Consumers are so bombarded with information that if you don't communicate a relevant message, they tune you out. Merely putting up a sign with a corporate logo on it is about as effective a communication tool as putting your name on license plates in a crowded parking lot.



Q: You talk about Brainstorming, and introduce a new method that's far more effective at generating ideas. You call this method Stimulus Response. How does it work?

A: Generating new ideas is critical to marketing success, so it's a very important part of The Marketing Game. The typical method of brainstorming is what I call brain-draining, which assumes that all great ideas already exist within the gray matter of one's brain, and all you have to do is somehow siphon them out. For most this is a very short experience. People sit down in a room, think, sweat, use their brains as reference libraries and squeeze out a few hard-thought ideas. The better way to brainstorm is to use your mind as it was intended - to absorb and process stimuli, then make new connections. This method is called Stimulus Response. Instead of working like a reference library, your brain is used like a processing computer. Instead of withdrawing ideas, it creates ideas. Stimulus Response has been proven to be five times more effective at creating great new ideas than standard brainstorming methods, and I dedicate a chapter to teaching you how to do it effectively.



Q: You say that using "The Consumer Strike Zone" can help increase sales and profitability. What is "The Consumer Strike Zone" and how does it work?

A: In the baseball rule book, the batters strike zone is from the bottom of the armpits to the top of the knees. In marketing, there is a zone from which consumers purchase most of their wares off of store shelves - and it's almost the same as that of baseball, hence the term "The Consumer Strike Zone". Studies have shown that in a typical retail store, about 80% of all sales are made off of the shelves that are between the top of the shoppers shoulders and their knees. It's important then for marketers to try to get their products displayed "in the zone" to increase their chances of sales success. It's also an important concept for retailers to display their most profitable and fastest-selling items "in the zone" to maximize profitability and reduce inventory costs. This is one of dozens of dirty little marketing secrets that are divulged in The Marketing Game. Secrets that anyone can start using today to improve their business.



Q: Who do you think would benefit from reading your book?

A: I wrote The Marketing Game with two audiences in mind. First is the professional business person who wants to expand their marketing skill set. This could be an entrepreneur, a business owner, a corporate marketing person, or anyone working in consumer research, sales or advertising. This book is also perfect for use as a teaching tool in business schools. It shows the student not only what to do, but how to do it and the thinking behind it. The Marketing Game draws on over one-hundred real-life examples that the student can learn about, then go walk through a store and see being executed by the world's best marketing companies.

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