Remember when every woman in television commercials was pencil thin and in her early twenties? Somehow they even managed to make leggy models sprawling car roofs relevant when hawking products that only the elderly would need. It wasn’t that long ago.
The whole notion that sex sells (it still does) has taken a back seat to a growing body of buyers who want to relate to the people they’re buying from (even when paid actors provide the pitch).
Dove was one of the big national front-runners with getting real about representing the average consumer when they began their every woman campaign. I remember being shocked the first time I saw a commercial with women sporting extra flesh clad in white bras and panties.
Remarkably, this contrary approach (see yesterday’s blog post on breaking the marketing concept rules) was embraced by consumers. Now it’s becoming the norm to have relatively ordinary people in commercials instead of only gorgeous, young and air-brushed runway model types.
Dove went further. According to Wikipedia:
In 2006, Dove started the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. It purports to be “an agent of change to educate and inspire girls on a wider definition of beauty and to make them feel more confident about themselves”. To this day, Dove have created a number of largely online-only short films, including Daughters (which also aired in a 75-second spot during the Super Bowl XL), Evolution (which won two awards at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival), Onslaught, and Amy.”
People are responding to companies that appear to care for a cause.
Good strategic marketing isn’t just about pushing product anymore. In fact, done right, it never was. Do most small businesses have the budgets to champion a cause? With some creativity, they can. This need not even require donating funds to a charity or community initiative. Offering resources to improve the world (even if that pushes people to your products and services) can be enough. The key is putting it in a way that resonates with your audience in real and personal ways.
Do you provide an unusual perspective or network for people who see things differently than the norm? Have you considered including strategic marketing that does? Why not recognize who they are and customize a message that appeals to this niche. Give them ways to assemble, express or share. Offer ideas to help them feel like they can change the world together. Provide tools to help make it so (free or for a fee). It’s more about being able to identify with your audience than offering bulk from your bank account. Caring is what matters. People get when you mean it.