A great post in Fast Company about the power of billboards to transform R&D combined with a recent road trip got me thinking about the power of context in marketing. Billboards are a great litmus test for this because the target audience shares a lot of contextual similarities: they’re travelling down the road at 70+ mph in a vehicle of some sort and are likely to have a fairly immediate need for food, gas, or a place to stay.
But audience context is likewise valuable in other marketing settings – whether one-to-one, print, or online. Let’s get the slam-dunk out of the way: if you have strong brand recognition and a known value proposition that your target audience likely has immediate need of, you’re done.
Environmentalists and foreign oil hawks alike have gnashed teeth over the apparent slow adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), lamenting that “if only people knew [fill in the blank]”, EV sales would quickly surpass those of conventional fossil fuel-powered cars. EV supporters point to the lack of a national charging network, ignoring the fact that you can plug in – though maybe not to a high-amperage socket – nearly anywhere in the US. Build the infrastructure, they claim, and EV sales will take off. Others point to the general slowdown in auto sales brought on by the Great Recession.
There is a current of truth to all of these explanations, but none tell the whole story. I’d like to offer an additional – and I think fundamental – explanation for why EVs are not yet mainstream.
Bankers are not marketers. This much should be obvious, but the point was driven home to me not too long ago as I was sitting in my local branch gazing at the POS collateral scattered around the lobby (see example at left).
Getting a new credit card isn’t typically a spur-of-the moment decision. Nor do most people regularly have luggage on their mind. Could the Venn diagram of customers who were thinking of opening a credit card and getting new luggage – and were spurred into action by this promotion – really be substantial enough to meaningfully drive customer acquisition? Frankly, I’d be surprised if this promotion drove any incremental business for my bank. Read more