What Can Our Children Teach Us About Marketing?

What Can Our Children Teach Us About Marketing?

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Parenthood and Marketing

Being a father of two children under age four, the daily challenges come from all angles. One second can be the difference between love and conflict, generosity and selfishness, peace and chaos. As children grow, their ability to master each of these situations helps their development as a person. Want to up-skill your marketing? As an ambitious marketer, your kids can teach you a few tricks.

Imagine the whining of a cantankerous toddler: “I want this”, “I want that”, “I had it first”, “I don’t like vegetables.” This negative behavior doesn’t bring out the best in parents. Our internal dialogue responds ‘no’ to each of these messages. A barrage of one after the other, and we have built an inner mental barrier that lets nothing past.

Kids are ahead of the game. They’ve got their own version of A/B testing.

Let’s say you’re not just great at marketing, you fancy yourself as a gourmet chef in the home kitchen. You cook up some homemade pasta for the family dinner. As you all dig-in your child says: “You make the best pasta in the world”, “This is delicious”, “I’m eating all my dinner so I can run really fast”. Now, our internal dialogue responds ‘yes’ to each of these situations. Our ego is being pandered. What we already believed about our skills is now verified, and is being shared by word-of-mouth to all present. Our white lie about running fast if you eat all your dinner has worked. All is good. We embrace a positive sense of openness.

Then; Bam! The punchline hits: “Can I have some chocolate?” Damn! It was a trap but what monster would say no to that. We’ve been primed and conditioned to say yes.

How does this apply to marketing?

Too often we see a tired old format in advertising: Feature and benefit.  ‘Superb 24-megapixel lens so you can have clearer photos.’ ‘Twin-power Turbo 8-cylinder diesel engine so you can drive like a lunatic.’ Bored yet?

Let’s try something different: Tell people they are great. They are correct. Send continuous positive messages. Show your admiration, then hit the punchline and convert.

Who executes this well?

In my early twenties, I sold booze cruise tickets in Cyprus. The boss was a great salesman, but his opening line was so cringe-worthy; “Are you guys party animals?” After an immediate yes, he’d ask them if they wanted to buy booze cruise tickets. What self-respecting party-animal wouldn’t?

Baby formula brand Aptamil also delivers this concept exceptionally well. A video montage shows babies, one holding a chair for balance, one playing with a toy drum and another with an abacus. These montages contain overlay images of them as adults succeeding in ballet, orchestra and mathematics. The ambitious parent aspires to this future and is then provided with the solution to make it happen – Aptamil.

In both examples, the target’s ego is satisfied and positively re-enforced. They are now wide open for the punchline.

To kick-ass at marketing, be like the smart kids in pursuit of chocolate.

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