Do Marketers Always Want Consumer’s To Consume?

In marketing we call our target consumers. Yet not all marketing goals or messages are about increasing consumption. Sometimes marketers want the target market to consume something different, consume less, or simply consume an idea.

Patagonia famously ran an ad with the headline “Don’t Buy This Jacket” on Black Friday. They sell clothing, but their overall mission is, “We’re in business to save our home planet. We aim to use the resources we have–our voice, our business, and our community–to do something about our climate crisis.”

Patagonia balances selling new clothes with its mission. For example, they encourage consumers to consume less by trading in old Patagonia clothes to be resold with its Wornwear program. They call for climate action on Twitter, and share conservation messages on their YouTube channel.

One video features Salvar Una Cuenca running to save a watershed. Another has an employee explaining how to repair a zipper to keep a jacket longer. The message is getting through. In a recent Harris Poll, Patagonia is listed as the most reputable company in the U.S.

Sometimes marketers want consumers to consume more of their product by consuming more but by consuming something different. An example is Campbell’s sharing recipes featuring their condensed soup as a key ingredient.

Campbell’s meets the needs of busy adults giving them quick and easy recipes that while increasing purchase of their soup. They send the message where their target is looking for meal ideas with timely posts on Pinterest like “Get hammy with your Easter leftovers.”

Gatorade is another example. They don’t want their consumers to consume more sports drinks during workouts. They want their target to drink Gatorade over competitor Powerade.

They position themselves as hydration for high school athletes by helping their target tell their sports stories on social media. They created a free app “Highlights” for teen athletes to capture and share pro videos of their best sports moments.

A nonprofit or government agency often wants marketing messages that encourage consumers to consume less such as a natural resource conservation effort. Right now many western states are facing severe droughts. They need marketing messages to get residents to consume less water.

Some public health efforts aim for no consumption. The Truth anti-tobacco campaign has used marketing to reduce teen smoking. In the 1990s, they used PSA TV ads to reach their audience. Now Truth is reaching teens on Instagram and Youtube to reduce teen vaping.

Other marketing messages encourage donations. The nonprofit Dress for Success targets women on Facebook to donate their professional clothes, talents, and time to help other women obtain opportunities and reach economic independence.

What other goals do social media marketing efforts try to accomplish for organizations, businesses, or clients?

To learn more on consumers, target markets and target audiences see “Are You My Audience? 6 Misconceptions About Target Audiences in Social Media and Digital Marketing Strategy.”

Super Bowl Ads: A Unique Opportunity for Undivided Attention

As we watch this year’s Super Bowl of football and advertising, there is a big lesson we can learn from this high priced marketing spectacle. A poll reported by MarketingProfs says more of us would rather visit the bathroom during the game than the commercial breaks. The same poll says the commercials beat out the game, halftime show and even food as our favorite part of the Super Bowl.

This kind of undivided attention is amazing in our current cluttered advertising environment where some claim we see 5,000 ad messages a day. And even when watching TV, a Harris Interactive survey reports people also surf the Internet, read a book, magazine or newspaper, go on a social networking site.

Why are people surfing the Internet, reading books and engaging in social media? They’re searching for content they want to see and during the Super Bowl marketers who pay the $3.8 million manage to give them just that. MarketingProfs reports people say Super Bowl ads are funnier, more creative and more memorable than regular ads. And people watch them again online, share them via social media and even email links to them.

Despite these successes many marketers and bloggers write off Super Bowl ads as being not effective in selling products. But it’s hard to pass up the 180 million viewers – top prime time shows now only attract viewers in the hundreds of thousands. And Kantar Media claims last year’s game produced sales of $262.5 million for the advertiser while Abobe says Super Bowl sponsors get a 20% increase in traffic on their websites the day of the game and higher than average traffic after.

Whether you buy a Super Bowl ad or not, the lesson here is that people like quality content whether its an ad, TV show, game or video.This is the key insight to success for marketing in social media. You don’t buy attention, you attract it with quality content. without the huge media expense. For the most part, marketers are not used to thinking this way.

The bottom line is people choose to spend time with quality content and successful Super Bowl advertisers are acting more like content producers – creating the kind of ads that keep people in their seats. Perhaps the rest of us marketers should start thinking like this all the time. Maybe the best way to beat ad clutter is to stop trying to push and instead pull the consumer to you.