Topic Progress:

7 examples of big theories to check for evidence:

  1. Differentation is not the cornerstone of succesful marketing. It may be part of the creative process in developing the brand, the product or advertising, because new is a strong driver of success even in minor details.  But it can easily be overdone i.e. in developing all kinds of ‘taste variants’ for a soft drink or a choclate brand.


2. Adding value to the life of customers is indeed important, often defined as functional or emotional benefits. Most of these are category specific and equally experienced within all buyer groups of competing brands. Cars are safe, sneakers are cool, smart watches convey wealth. Picking one ‘value’ and making it really big is different from a hunt to create relevance over and over again. Let alone to step into purpose marketing and asking why you are here.


3. Close to Kotler and Aaker is how McKinsey formulates success factors for brands. There are two issues here. First is wether it is actually true that most succesful brands emphasize features that are both important to customers and quite differentiated from those of competitors. Second, most important, is that success of brands does not come from actually emphasizing this.


4. People are programmed to look for differences, where in fact similarities rule. Finding your niche in marketing is often advised for start ups and that makes sense: you have to start your business somewhere. But when you are established and are scaling up, there may be room for many adventures and even bring your brand to new cateogories (Philips, Virgin) with success.


5. The hype around the Net Promotor Score shows we really want to believe in simplicity. As Einstein said: ‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’. It can easily be calculated that boosting profits by 100% can never come from retaining just 5% more of your customers. It is a plain lie.


6. Loyalty seldom lasts for ever. The first question is how to define it, let’s say repeat buying is a measure.  Now say you are Starbucks serving coffees in the third space. Would shared values with your customers really be the driver of repeat buying? Maybe it would be a condition because if the values were not shared, customers may experience a hurdle to actually come again, not wanting to be associated with the brand.


7. This is one of the greatest sales tricks ever and many marketeers fell for it. It shows the power of ideas over evidence based marketing. Kevin Roberts needed a new success for Saatchi & Saatchi and came up with Lovemarks – loyalty beyond reason. In a hilarious interview with Knowledge@Wharton he explained that he came up with the concept after drinking a few bottles of wine, missing his wife dearly and doodling hearts on a paper. The next days his team started reverse engineering ‘to make it right’ and marketing could start. You can find it here.