We don’t need no stinkin’ marketing!!

Do you really need marketing?

Was thinking about a new client and if they really needed to do marketing.

At lunch that day, we had been discussing Chipotle restaurants and how they do very little marketing/advertising, and was it right or not? Was it what they wanted (in growth)? Slower rather then faster – and then, who could guarantee that it would grow? Or would the marketing eat into their profit.

So, I started to think about the need for marketing with a product/service/brand or not.

Obviously, if the product is “hot”, then, marketing doesn’t need to be huge – right?

The product is selling itself and the Public Relations efforts are keeping it in the news – so, why do TV, Radio, social media advertising or whatever?

If the product is unknown, brand new, and customers don’t understand the value, then, marketing is needed, right?

Back in the days when I was the chief marketing person for the USB Flash Drive at the patent holding company – they gave me little money (less then $100K) a year to do all the marketing needed for the product- worldwide. (FYI – The market today for this product is over $2B).

There were a couple of ways that I could attack this:

I could scream and fight with the CEO/CFO and ask for more money;

I could only market to analysts and editors what the product was (in a particular region, like U.S., Germany, etc.);

I could go after one small region of the world and market the product (like NYC or LA only);

I could give the money to a retailer as MDF or Co-Op funding and have them advertise the product (as best they could with so little money);

Or I could do something else.

The skepticism of the product from the mass market was palpable. Who needed a device that had 256MB on it? We had the floppy for little things, CD-R and DVD-R for larger things (even though the software caused early heart attacks in many users), the Zip, and of course, the network where we could upload and download gigabytes of info.

That was the weakness – the skepticism, and that is where I attacked. I needed to educate the “early adopters” as to why they needed this product – there was no way that every secretary in the world was going to run and buy this device if they saw it on TV. I needed to hit those that would realize the value of it; that they would tell others, and so on (the perfect and ideal marketing tactic).

So do you or do you not need to put money into marketing?

Sadly, that depends on so many things. Here are just some of them:

Is the brand known?

Is the product needed?

Does it have mass market or niche market appeal?

Is the market an educated or a non-educated market?

What are the demographics – Hispanic, white, 18-25 year olds, retiree’s, etc. market?

Are you going to sell OEM, Retail, Direct, Web?

So many things – that all need to be laid out and understood – which then will lead to your marketing plan, and ultimately if you need to do, and what you need to do, for marketing.


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