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Kevin Simcock
Founder/Director of Possibilities
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
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The Saturation Point

Is your marketing message reaching enough people? Are people ignoring your message? Increase your saturation point with a few simple steps.
Written May 12, 2011, read 2839 times since then.
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How effective is your current marketing? Is it working? Are you measuring it? There are many ways to measure the success of your marketing efforts, but as with all efforts, the form of measurement and the definition of success for that marketing campaign should be determined up front before the campaign begins. Are you looking for X amount of unique visitors to your site, are you looking for X % of increased revenue, visitors to your retail locations etc.

One of the factors that determine the success of your campaign is something I like to call the “Saturation Point” of your marketing message. The saturation point simply means how well received your message is to your target market. The interesting fact about the saturation point of your message is that there is a direct correlation between it and the relevancy of the marketing message. They go hand in hand.

If your message is irrelevant to the target market than it won’t saturate as well, obviously. This means it won’t get carried through social media streams and you won’t achieve the defined success markers in your campaign. The relevancy of your message is arguably the single most vital key point for success. So why do so many companies choose to over look it or worse create a message based on a hypothesis? Determining your key message in your marketing campaigns should come from one source – research. Do your research people. Compile your data, do the focus groups, find out what your target market is saying, how they are feeling and find a relevant message they can relate to. If you can’t afford a research company to do this for you then do it yourself you’d be surprised at what you can find surfing blogs, twitter, facebook and google, or by sending out your own survey. (surveymonkey.com is a great free way of doing this)

Research is vital. It will reveal insights you didn’t know about and qualify them. It will give you a glimpse at the potential avenues to go down with your marketing message. It’s not common to have a creative guy (me) that sees the benefit in research but as problem solvers, that is our job, to do our research and have as much data to work from.

So what does this have to do with the Saturation Point of your marketing campaign? Well if you aren’t saying the right message your target market won’t be interested. How many times have you seen the screaming announcer on the TV saying “NO MONEY DOWN AND ZERO INTEREST”. The majority of people block that crap out because it isn’t relevant to them. (Plus it’s annoying.) I get so frustrated seeing campaigns that have nothing more compelling to say other than a price a point. I see the wasted money spent in media and production and think to myself what a wasted opportunity. If only they had done their research and found a compelling and relevant message to say. One that is proprietary to their brand. Anyone can claim price point.

Now, with any marketing campaign you will achieve some success regardless of what you do. That’s right. No matter what you say you will get a certain amount of success. It’s what I define as throwing the @#% to the wall and seeing what sticks method. A certain amount will. For some companies this is enough success to justify their efforts. Not so for myself.

People will tell you there are so many factors that determine the success of a campaign, the media buy, the use of social media, the production budget, the product performance, whatever. But regardless of these factors if the primary message isn’t relevant to the consumer then you have failed from the beginning. You might as well throw your money out the window because you will waste it. With the right message, a relevant one, you can sell anything.

Stop talking at people and start talking to them. Put down the bullhorn and stop broadcasting your brand message. Instead invite people to have a conversation about your brand. Give them relevant information that they can relate to. Make it personal, make it emotional and make a connection. Above all, make it creative. Yes there are ways to get a person excited and interested about the most mundane products like a cheese grater or a pair of socks. But you have to do the research and then you have to connect with them by means of relevancy. (What’s in it for them, how does it fill an emotional need in their life?) Once you achieve this you will see your marketing efforts “saturation point” spread successfully.

Lets put this to the test so I can prove to you how the right, relevant message would be more successful. Lets take the product of socks for example. Pretty bland and nothing great about this product right? For argument sake lets just say there is nothing special about these socks, they are made in China just like every other sock out there. No special features, no jaw-dropping USP. Now what?

Well you dig deep into your target market to find a relevant angle of attack for your messaging. One that none of your competitors are taking. Lets say that our research shows that most people buy socks every month because they wear out and get holes in them, exposing their toes. I think everyone can relate to this right? Perhaps our angle of attack is to create messaging around exposed toes and how embarrassing it can be. You can do a spoof commercial or online video of those typical “Ambilify” ads for medical drugs that say “Do you suffer from….. then ask your doctor if XXX is right for you”

They could be so fun and entertaining but most of all relevant to the target because the truth is everyone experiences it. The positioning is one that solves a problem for the target market, it does it in a relevant and creative way that will resonate with them. Is it emotional? Yes it could be funny. Is it relevant? Yes it addresses a legitimate concern. Is it proprietary? Sure any sock company could say this but if you are first to market with it then you own it and any other similar messaging from your competitors will be seen as a knock off.

Now this is just an example idea with a pretty vague strategy off the top of my head but you get the idea. If any of you own a sock company, feel free to use this idea :o)

So there you have it. It’s easier to extend your saturation point than you think all you need is a little research, some insight and bit of creativity and you’re on your way.

Learn more about the author, Kevin Simcock.

Comment on this article

  • Blogger 
Marysville, Washington 
Kimberly Gauthier
    Posted by Kimberly Gauthier, Marysville, Washington | May 19, 2011

    Great article and so timely for me. Thanks for the tip about Survey Monkey. It'll be interesting to learn more about my target market (amateur photograhers). At first I had no idea what to ask, but then the questions started flowing.

    I write a photography blog for amateur photographers. I'm currently working on expanding my business to also offer eBooks, photography workshops, podcasts and vlogging.

    Marketing has been a struggle, because I have no idea where I should invest my dollars. Fortunately, blogging has many free promotion opportunities which have helped tremendously. But I want my blog to rival Digital-Photography-School, and I have doubts that I can accomplish this solely by signing up for blog directories and commenting on other photography blogs.

    Looking forward to putting this article into practice.

    Kimberly

  • Advertising Consultant/Producer/Media Buyer 
Howey In The Hills, Florida 
Carole Holden
    Posted by Carole Holden, Howey In The Hills, Florida | May 19, 2011

    Great article, but there's another school of thought on this subject, one I learned during years in the ad industry and recently validated through first-hand experience.

    People who find the "NO MONEY DOWN, ZERO PERCENT FINANCING" type of message annoying (and most often associated with car dealers) are simply not in the market for the product or service being pitched. Believe me, I don't like them either, but when I recently entered the car-buying market (one that people typically only enter once every several years), my attention was on high alert every time I saw or heard one. Why? Because it was suddenly RELEVANT TO ME.

    Not all businesses can afford an image or branding campaign, so their message must be designed to capture the constantly fluctuating and small percentage of consumers who move into and out of a buying cycle rapidly. This is especially true of big-ticket items. There are exceptions, of course, but consumers will typically tune you out until they are in the market for your product or you make them an offer too good to put off. (I don't NEED T-bone steak, but when it's on sale for $4.99/lb, I'm motivated to buy it anyway. In my neck of the woods, that's a darn good price.)

    I bet you completely ignore tire ads until you need tires, right? But when you do need tires, then you pay attention to every one you are exposed to, because it's RELEVANT TO YOU. You'll especially notice those that offer the best 'deal', until you've finally bought them. At that point, you revert to the ignore phase.

    Advertising MUST generate sales. If it's entertaining to boot, that's gravy. Consumers may completely relate to your sock idea, but a sale on a comparable brand will more likely move them to buy. P.S. I found a great little Toyota Rav4 as a result of a TV ad with ZERO PERCENT FINANCING and 3 months before my first payment is due. I jumped in and back out of the car-buying market in a span of just 2 weeks, so those ads are once again annoying, wink

  • Founder/Director of Possibilities 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Kevin Simcock
    Posted by Kevin Simcock, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | May 19, 2011

    thanks for the great comments. Kimberly there are lots of free tactics to try so you can connect with more people. Your blog is the main point but there are audio pod casts, quick videos on youtube and others you can do for little cost that will help build your following.

    Carole I totally agree with you that people are constantly in flux coming in and out of buying markets, that is the main reason why consistency is key so brands will be at top of mind when consumers do decide to purchase. There is a recent research study done by Leo Burnett that shows ads that have won awards for creativity generate more revenue in sales. It's my thought that being creative and relevant is a must to ensure the best possible return on investment. The market has changed dramatically in the last 3 years. No longer can a brand simply put out an ad campaign and expect a sales boost. Now more than ever people want and actively seek out brands that they CONNECT with on a relevant level. Despite what stage of the buying process they may be in, if a person connects with a brand on a level other than one that is sales oriented (what a great deal!) they are more apt to be not only a repeat customer but also a brand advocate that spreads the word to their social network. People love apple products and line up for days to get them not because they are on sale or they have money that week to spend. It's quite the opposite. These people save for months and put themselves in debt to get them. They could go out and buy any other similar product on the market but they don't. It's because they love the brand, they connect with it and it is relevant to their values. This is the ultimate goal. The first step is getting people to connect with your brand in a meaningful and relevant way. Brands need to show more of what they stand for and less laundry lists of products, features and price points.

    That's my two cents anyway.

    Keep the comments coming!!!

  • Professional Web Copywriter, Response-Based Creative writer 
Monroe, Louisiana 
Stephen Monday
    Posted by Stephen Monday, Monroe, Louisiana | May 20, 2011

    Hi Kevin,

    Getting people to connect with your brand is the ultimate goal of any branding campaign. The tips you gave in your article are spot-on.

    Relevance is key when it comes to hitting the perfect target market. You are right about the way some major companies simply sling some @$#% out there just to see what sticks...what a waste of cash.

    Good article, and keep them coming. I would like to join your network.

  • Founder/Director of Possibilities 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Kevin Simcock
    Posted by Kevin Simcock, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | May 20, 2011

    Stephen thanks for the feedback and I'm glad you liked the article. I will be posting a couple more articles soon.

    Cheers

  • President | Director of Production 
Minneapolis, Minnesota 
Jeff High
    Posted by Jeff High, Minneapolis, Minnesota | May 21, 2011

    Great advice Kevin,

    There is a huge difference between branding and marketing - I don't always point it out, because they often do (and should) overlap, but it's also important when you are determining the kind of campaign, and the relevant creative that goes with it.

    Branding is stationary. Marketing is fluid.

    Both need to be addressed in every message. This seems like common sense but it doesn't take long to find ads where a company has lost their brand under their message. It's why used car dealers all look the same (well, most).

    Carole has a remarkable point, however, that relevance is not the same at all times for all people, and price point can sometimes be the hook that brings people in the door.

    But they're two different things. Kevin is talking about brand, and it is so crucial that this remains solid, steady, and predictable. Your business plan has a symbiotic relationship with your brand; in fact, your customers will not make the distinction at all. Your brand is you.

    Your message, however, can change. Yes, advertise that sale. But remember that it is NOT your brand, unless your brand is undercutting the competition. If you're not a dollar store or a used car dealer it probably isn't.

    I think that is (at least in part) what Kevin is getting at. Your brand is what you market. The message is how you market it. There will always be short term exceptions that take advantage of a changing landscape and sometimes that "annoying" price point will play a dominant role, but your brand is in it for the long haul, and it's what will remain in the customer's mind long after the "sales" are over.

  • Founder/Director of Possibilities 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Kevin Simcock
    Posted by Kevin Simcock, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | May 21, 2011

    Excellent point Jeff and right on the money. The moment a company starts positioning themselves on price they have already lost marketshare. Another company will come along and simply under cut that price leaving you with no other option but to lower your prices to compete. Marketing a brand based on values that resonate with the target creates a solid foundation for success. Have you ever seen a Rolex go on sale?(a real one anyway) Have you ever seen a Porsche dealership offer a weekend blowout sale?Or Armani offer a two for one suit sale? NO because they focus on offering value. Focusing on price alone takes the value out of your product or service. Even if it's just on sale for a weekend. If no one knows what the brand stands for then people will question whether it's worth it or not.

    I think I'll make a post on pricing and see what the responses are.

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