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My current comments about this article:

Sexual Healing For Hi-Tech

 

MARKET MATURITY MEANS MISERABLE MARKETING

 

So there they were, three computer software executives

dining in one of Wellesley's better restaurants; dejectedly

puddling the butter in their mashed potatoes; and lamenting

the loss of fun in marketing the maturing software industry.

It's all so identical they moaned... run a seminar; do a

direct mail piece; have PR get coverage in every magazine;

move more into telemarketing; run some ads; acquire an 800

number; take in a trade show... not to mention the ubiquitous

hospitality suite. Boy! If this is market maturity, they

concluded, bring us back to software's infantile days or pass

the cloroform.

Unfortunately, turning back any markets development to the

pioneer days is impossible due to the nature of pioneering

per se. Boundaries get set and the stakes get higher. As a

result what we end up seeing as any market matures is not the

exploring, infantile, marketing enthusiasm of old; but

neurotic campaigns cloaked in the rationale, "de riguerur."

Afterall, there are only so many ways to skin a cat, or place

an eraser on a pencil. Even the Kamasutra had its numerical

limit.

In ways, addressing immature vs mature markets can be

characterized by the difference between a carefree colt

romping in a wideopen pasture and nervous racehorse weaving

back and forth in its confining stall. Finite restrictions

can bring out the worst in all living beings. And for all

creatives -- marketing or otherwise, this is particularly

true as they search for yet another encore to surpass their

last triumph.

Therefore, my prediction is that in the rapidly maturing

software industry, we are about to see much more neurotic

behavior. And regarding the "de riguerur," I hope that if it

is to be in the form of the currently popular sweepstakes

theme, it does not resemble the one so conceived by Young &

Rubicam's for Canada Dry.

Joan or $1,000,000

To the sweepstakes winner, Canada Dry is going to give a

choice between: A fabulous dinner with Joan Collins; or a

cool million dollars!

Clearly, we are approaching the twilight zone with this

contest. For to me, it sounds conceived by the free-

association, fantasy group at Bridgewater State Mental

Hospital for sexual offenders. Let's diagram this contest so

as to identify some of its obsurd ramifications.

Actually, it's a little difficult to know where to parse this

turkey. I don't know whether to react to the "choice"

aspect; the sexual discrimination aspect; or the cheapened

state in which Ms. Collins has put herself as I am certain

that the choice in this sweepstakes will be ridiculed

Sex n' Soda

8a

In stretching for parallels, Y&R contends that neither Canada

Dry nor Joan are too sweet and both stand for class. While

the first may be true for the ginger ale, it hard to accept

that it's true for Joan Collins in her current persona as

Alexis. She's a witch! And with respect to class, I can't

recall ever seeing Ms Collins sipping a ginger ale with Dex

on Dynasty.

However, what Collins is more than anything else is a

superb seductress... and a sensually, beautiful one at that.

And this is where this sweepstakes loses points, for the

circumstantial evidence indites this contest as sexually

biased. I've never seen nor heard of Joan seducing another

woman; she didn't appear in Playgirl; yet she did in Playboy.

As a result, The message seems very clear: Women need not

apply! Somehow, the lure of this choice isn't about another

woman having dinner with Ms Collins to compare notes on

Scoundrel perfume also endorsed by Ms. Collins. Yet, aren't

women still the major purchasers of soda?

Choice n' Chance

It's doubtful that Young & Rubicam actually believe that

there is a choice to be made by the sweepstakes winner.

He or she will grab the million big ones. Based on the

demographics of wealth, I think that they are safe, for I

estimate that a rational person would probably have to have

$44 mil in the bank to forego the equivalent to a calendar

quarter's interest for din-din with Joan.

The consequences of the above are twofold: Ms. Collins has

an almost 100% chance of being rejected by the winner; and if

not rejected, she'll have the chance of a life time to

anticipate a nervous evening with a libidinous person whose

thinking is grossly maladjusted by hormones.

See what I mean about neurotic marketing: Here we have a

soda company playing to the wrong audience while perhaps

offending the one that buys their product; and a seductress

setting herself up for rejection #@*!

Problems n' Solutions

Whether Gloria Steinham pans this contest or not, I think

that its current arrangement runs the risk of creating more

problems than it solves. For sure, its appeal would be far

more reaching if women also had the opportunity to toy

with the idea of a dinner with John Forsythe, who's classy

yet isn't too sweet either in the persona of Blake Carrington

in Dynasty.

The next problem is that the choice isn't difficult enough to

focus prolonged attention. Sure, I can imagine the

conversations at the bars. But in the final analysis, I

can't imagine two divided factions cheering "Go For It!" Had

only the alternative fantasies been more conflictingly

difficult... such as living for a year like Alexis or

Blake, all expenses paid up to a million dollars for the

house, the clothes the servants, the horses (that's $83,333

per month) ... OR only a flat $500,000 in cash. Then, the

fleeting jockularity of this contest would attenuate as the

real economic arguements would emerge. And this million

dollar sweepstakes would become legend.

Our Turn

n

So if you too are a software executive; find yourself

puddling the butter in your mashed potatoes; and have thought

of sweepstakes, there are a few guidelines to remember.

First, software provides solutions to problems; not problems

looking for solutions. Hence tie the outcome of the contest

to a solution which is meaningful to your sponsorship .

Second, because this is a "seven day world"... try to extend

it to eight. Lotteries, sweepstakes, raffles and all sorts of

give-aways abound. Conceive the contest to go the extra

distance and provide a lingering -- if not lasting --effect.

Third, the computer industry is the most androgynous (yes,

spelled with a "y") industry of all. Let's keep it that way.

If there's an element of "cheesecake" make certain that there

is an equal percentage of "beefcake."

Fourth, stay in wide-open pastures and not confined stalls in

the designing the event. Restrictions will drive you crazy.

Fifth, if you don't believe in the above, call Suzanne

Sommers of Ace Hardware fame. Apparently, legitimacy is only

a matter of money.

Sottile's Winning Action Team
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Tactical Marketing Agency

"Marketing Tactics Make Corporate Strategies Happen!"
                                                                   John Sottile