Sunday, November 6, 2011

The girl who knew too much.

         I was giving a final exam in one of my fashion marketing classes.

        About a half-hour into the exam, one gifted student lifted her head up from her paper, looked me squarely in the eyes, and proclaimed:

       “Your questions are easy, but the answers are difficult.”

        The student is perceptive, and quite right. I’ve been thinking about her comment ever since.
       “Easy questions, tough answers” is a great description of marketing. There’s nothing complicated about the questions marketing asks:

                 1.   What is your objective? 
                 2.    Who are you talking to? The demographics and psychographics.
3.    Who is your competition? What do people believe about them?
4.    What is the benefit you’re offering, and why is that so good?
5.    How are you going to support this benefit?
6.    What will it take to achieve your objective?
7.    What do you want your target market to do right now and in the long term?

         The questions are simple enough; the difficult part is answering them well --- truthfully, cogently, with a sharp edge that cuts through the bull. That will be your job as a marketer. Your strategies can’t be stuck in muddy clichés, drowning in unmeasurable objectives, or so general nobody can object to them. Yours will be bulletproof. You’re going to get promoted if you know how to get the answers, and be paid the big bucks when you do.
          The student who observed my m.o. knows that well.

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