Category Archives: circle of life

All Your Marketing is Connected

In my previous post on The Marketing Circle of Life I discussed how each piece of the small business marketing model must be assembled in a logical order and that all spots are reciprocally dependent on each other.

Today we’re going to illustrate how each of the spots are interconnected. We’ll start by slightly revising The Marketing Circle of Life graphic. You can see that each marketing spot is connected to all the others. That’s how it is in real business too.

If you are treating each of the marketing spots as unrelated disciplines, you are missing out on the marketing multiplier effect. To reveal their connectedness, I’ll use a marketing case study of a fictional jewelry store: Masterpiece Jewelry

Masterpiece Jewelry’s brand is about quality. They have adopted the tagline: “Our quality matters.” The owner looks to sell pieces of the highest craftsmanship. As you walk in the front door, there is a big poster touting the “Diamond Solitaire Sale” regularly $1999 now just $999! But that’s not all, you get a free gift with each purchase, a pair of pearl stud earrings!

Because branding and the customer experience are interdependent, what you have here is a marketing head-on collision. Two marketing vehicles traveling on the same road going opposite directions. Masterpiece is spending money branding itself as quality, yet also spending money giving their customers a discount experience. Both investments are wasted because they cancel each other out.

Let’s change the scenario and say that Masterpiece Jewelry designed a customer experience that plays on their name. As you enter the store, you are awestruck by reproductions of famous masterpieces such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Picasso’s Guernica, and even Michelangelo’s David (sporting a strategically placed fig leaf).

You are greeted at the door by a young man in a blazer who asks if this is your first time to Masterpiece Jewelry. When you answer yes, he escorts you on a short store tour describing the various artworks. He then introduces you to your jewelry guide behind the counter, “who will be assisting you in choosing the perfect masterpiece for your collection.” Your free gift upon purchase are two tickets to the local art center.

Immediately after leaving the store, you call your best friend and rave about the most beautiful jewelery at the most incredible store. The connection between the customer experience and word of mouth is evident. But because Masterpiece Jewelry has carefully designed their customer experience, they will have one word of mouth message circulating in the community. Every customer who talks about Masterpiece will be saying similar things about an incredible experience.

An ever-increasing number of excited customers are now talking about Masterpiece Jewelry. Word of Mouth is quickly spreading around town. Simultaneously, the owner of the store launches his radio advertising campaign.

The commercial opens with a baritone announcer speaking over a Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. He describes with deep emotion the events of April 26, 1937 when the the small Basque town of Guernica was left in ruins after a sustained aerial attack by the German Luftwaffe. The announcer then tells how an enraged Pablo Picasso, reacting to the senselessness of the attack, picked up his paintbrush and captured the brutality and violence of war. As you are drawn into the story, you are told that you can see a reproduction of this painting and other famous works at Masterpiece Jewelry. You may also want to add a jewelry masterpiece to your own collection while you are there.

Wait a minute. Your friends have been hearing you talk about these famous masterpieces at a jewelry store, now they hear a radio commercial giving the story of each individual creation. They have got to see this place for themselves. At the same time, you are jazzed. You just got to replay that incredible experience one more time.

Now let’s go back to the beginning. We have branded Masterpiece Jewelry not just as a quality or upscale brand, but instead with an image of uniqueness and incomparable value. Their signature (slogan) is “Why just wear jewelry, when you can wear a masterpiece?”

Normally, a jewelry store’s advertising might focus on special sales, or the 4 C’s, or having an experienced gemologist on staff. If our fictional Masterpiece Jewelry acted normally, all marketing dollars would be wasted. The advertising would not just be working independently of the branding effort, it would be working in opposition to it. Rather than getting no return on its advertising investment, Masterpiece would be getting a negative return by working to destroy its brand.

However in using the radio commercial described above, Masterpiece’s advertising re-enforces the brand, and the brand multiplies the effectiveness of the advertising. Everything consumers encounter regarding the brand says “masterpiece.”

Now let’s say your first knowledge of Masterpiece Jewelry comes from the radio advertising campaign. The commercial intrigues you. You are in the market for a 10th anniversary present for your wife. This place sounds perfect for finding such an important gift.

You arrive at the store, but instead of being greeted by the young man in the blazer, you are greeted by the big poster touting the “Diamond Solitaire Sale” regularly $1999 now just $999! There are a couple of paintings on the wall but you wonder, “is that the one they were talking about in the commercial?” You are approached by a young sales clerk who asks, “Can I help you find something? Did you hear about our free pearl stud earrings with every purchase?”

“No thanks, I’m just looking today,” is your reply.

To illustrate this connection, we go back to the genesis of our jewelry store. The name Masterpiece Jewelry was chosen one night during dinner and a glass of wine because it sounded chic. At that point friends begin giving the store owner advice. “Quality matters when you’re buying jewelry,” says one friend. “People buy on price,” says another, “everyone’s always looking for a sale.”

Taking one friend’s advice, the owner adopts the slogan: “Where quality matters.” Then, because people buy on price, he commissions a local graphic artist to design a sale poster for diamond solitaire rings. The owner’s wife reminds him that his store name is “Masterpiece,” and he should do something about that. So he runs down to the local art store and buys a couple of prints of some famous paintings.

When customers begin coming in, what exactly are they going to say about this store? Quality, price, artwork? They will say nothing unless they have a bad experience.

All your marketing is connected, and that’s a good thing. Because now you understand how the Marketing Circle of Life works and you can do something about it.

Start with branding and move your way systematically through the circle. Build each spot so that it enhances the previous spot. Do this and you will create your own marketing masterpiece.

Related posts on marketing connectedness:
The Marketing Circle of Life
Connect the Dots: Building a True Brand
Why Advertising Alone is So Ineffective
The Sweet Spot of Small Business Marketing

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