How Not to Respod to a Marketing Campaign
Courtesy of Apple’s Stupid Lawyers

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: August 1st, 2009

There are a lot of ways to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. You can look at market share gained, revenue generated, or response rates. But sometimes the true measure of an ad’s effectiveness is not in these numbers.

A truly brilliant marketing campaign makes your competitors whine. It makes then call their lawyers. It makes them grasp at any straw to make the bleeding stop.

There is truth to the saying “thou dost protest too much.”  If you get your competitor to respond in a direct way to an indirect advertisement you know you are doing something right.

If Your Competitors Squawk, Keep Doing It

If something in your advertising – a word, phrase or concept – draws the ire of a competitor there is usually something about what you are doing that they are afraid of.

Take this recent example:

Microsoft recently launched a series of TV ads called Laptop Hunters.

These ads illustrate how much less expensive it is to buy a PC than it is to buy a Mac.  This was Microsoft’s counter to Apple’s highly effective “I’m a Mac” TV advertisements.

It seems that the ads were effective.  Last quarter Apple lost market share to Microsoft and also dropped the prices of its low-end MacBook.

It also seems that Apple’s lawyers called Microsoft and tried to put an end to their ads sighting that they were invalid because you could now buy a MacBook for less than $1,000.

Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Turner said:

“They took like $100 off or something,” he said. “It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I’ve ever taken in business.”
“Microsoft is “just going to keep running them and running them and running them.”

Once you know you are under your competitor’s skin, you know you are doing something effectively and you should continue to do it.

If Their Ads are Working, Shut Up

The same thing goes in the opposite direction.  If your competitor is doing something to you that is highly effective, don’t whine about it.  Focus your efforts and energy on coming up with a response in the marketplace.

Answering your competitor’s challenge is not enough.  Find the weakness in their strength and counter-punch.  Put them on the defensive.

Using the above example, Microsoft never whined to Apple’s attorneys that Macs can (and do) get viruses and malware infections.  They found a weakness (Apple’s price point) in their strength (controlled distribution channel) and exploited it.

Check Your Emotions at the Door

In small business things can get personal very easily.  It is not uncommon for small business owners to make stupid business decisions because they are emotionally compromised in a situation.

Don’t fall into that trap.

When you feel yourself getting angry, sad, scared, or personally intimidated, take a step back and remember that you are not your business.  Your business is a whole separate person.

It’s ok to defend your business in the same way a parent would defend their child against another youth bully.  Its not ok to be the dad that jumps out of the car and smacks another kid for calling your kid fat.

Measure and Revise

The last thing to remind yourself is that you need to constantly measure the effectiveness of your ads.  Remember the Bill Gates & Sinfeld ad flop?

Even Microsoft will quit a multi-million dollar campaign if it isn’t doing anythig positive.

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