November 16, 2006

News & Opinion: Finish This _______________.

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 6:00 PM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales

Im sure some of you will disagree with me on this one, but I firmly believe that consumer focus groups are not a good place to create ideas, and furthermore consumers cannot react to an idea presented to them in sterile, concept-board fashion. Asking opinions at the conceptual stage of the game is inviting in the marketing equivalent of Pandoras pandemic. How do I know? Ask ten people about anything: having wisdom teeth removed, how they feel about flying, what they thought about the latest Adam Sandler movieand everyone will tell you something different. Opinions are not great creative fodder, however you might want to bring in ideas that are based on your ownor otherspersonal experiences and knowledge.
Thats where our imaginary friend, Janie, comes in. Janie says the beginning of an idea and its up to us to figure out the rest of it. Sometimes, the missing element is a name, i.e. Janie says I love this new soft drink because it is so fresh-tasting. No wonder they call it _______. Other times, it is an emotion, i.e. Janie says, I love this new credit card because it makes me feel _______.
Using this technique is a great trick and a no-lose proposition. First of all, we avoid the ignorant, knee-jerk (opinion-laden) responses that come had I put the word you in Janies place.
In fact, Janie called us this morning from her cell phone and told us that she loves the new feature on her new stapler that tells her when shes about to run out of staples. Her cell phone signal ran out, so we had to just guess what that signal was. Can you think of at least one? Good, then Janies done her job.
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By Lynn Altman, author of Brand it Yourself.