Many times have I been defending the practice of marketing among people who think of it as tricking people into buying what they don’t need and want. Today’s form of marketing, that I represent, is rather about matching needs, demands and offerings, while taking attitudes and awareness into account. You can make people aware of things they did not know existed, and if these things are well adapted to people’s reality they may experience new needs. But a very fundamental notion must be that you cannot sell people what they don’t want.
Working in this field has made me extra aware of inside-out thinking and push-oriented marketing. Since fifteen years back, the newspaper which I subscribe to for weekends only, has tried to convince me into changing my subscription to daily, at a similar cost. But I don’t like having papers I don’t have time to read, dumped into my mailbox. It’s worth more for me to get less! Once one of their phone salesmen even argued “but the price for the everyday subscription is the same and you see a newspaper is funded by adverts in relation to issues sold, so it is much better for us if you get the paper daily”.
In a similar way, I wonder what the people at Coca Cola were thinking with their recent campaign, “Buy three large bottles and get a four-pack of small traditional bottles as a gift”. The small four-packs are clearly marked “not for sale” and they cannot be bought separately, at any price! So much marketing effort spent on the classic bottle, often even depicted on the cans as the icon it is… Not for sale! Like many others, I gladly pay a fair amount for those lovely little glass bottles with the relief logo, once in a while when you can actually buy them in the supermarket. But I refuse to carry enough sugared water for a pool party to my house, only to get those that I want. It’s worth more to get less!
It seems like the Coca Cola people know that we want the traditional small bottles, where is otherwise the logic in using it as a “lure” to sell the large plastic ones?
Well, maybe it is better for them…