People Don't Answer the Door for People They Don't Know.
There’s this wonderful ad created by McGraw Hill back in the 30s. Perhaps you’ve seen it. (OK, maybe not in real life, but possibly in a marketing textbook.)
The ad features this very stern looking man – your classic crusty CEO type. Next to him is this very simple text.
I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s product.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now – what was it you wanted to sell me?
Brilliant. If this isn’t the essential statement about the role of marketing, I don’t know what is.
If people have learned anything from all those teen horror movies, it’s that it is a mistake to open the door to someone you don’t know. So most people don’t. In their daily lives. And in their response to marketers.
I’ve always thought that Ralph Waldo Emerson did a terrible disserve to the world of commerce with his clever quote about building a better mousetrap. Mousetraps may be a cheesy metaphor for marketing, but the reality is that many inventors of great products have gone broke waiting for the world to beat that proverbial path to their door.
This is why branding is so essential to effective marketing. There are hundreds of definitions of branding, but most experts would describe it as the expectations one has about a given product or service. These expectations can be driven by direct or indirect experience or perceptions of what the branded entity provides to its customers and stakeholders. Product. Performance. Reputation. Record. In short, all the things the brand stands for in the minds of the people who matter most when it comes to marketing success.
Effective marketing is all about opening doors. And it all starts with a good introduction.
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