February 19, 2014
Strategies And Mysteries
Today we have a mystery for you to solve. Get out your pipe and deerstalker hat. But first, the set-up.
Yesterday, Dave Trott had an excellent post about the limits of strategy.
I have always felt that in advertising, strategy is essential but it's not enough. The problem with most of our agency strategists is that they complicate the shit out of the easy stuff and screw up the hard stuff.
For the most part, peoples' purchasing behavior is pretty easy to figure out. First, there's the utilitarian stuff. They buy these things because they're cheaper, nicer looking, more convenient, better tasting, or work better. No mystery there.
Next, there's the emotional stuff. They buy these things because the brand makes them feel better. Also, no mystery.
Planners and other strategists take great pains to make these obvious behaviors seem arcane. After all, if a dumb-ass blogger can figure this shit out, who needs a "cultural anthropologist?"
Then there are the 10% of consumer behaviors that really are mysterious. This is the stuff that is very hard to explain and truly requires the help of a good strategist. Sadly, this is the stuff that many of them get wrong.
Here's an example.
I get The New York Times delivered to my home in Oakland every morning. Yet when I'm traveling, I don't buy The Times on Mondays or Tuesdays. I do buy it, however, on Wednesdays through Sundays.
Pretend you're a marketing strategist, and see if you can come up with a logical explanation for this purchasing behavior. Leave your explanation in the "Comments" section and tomorrow the mystery will be revealed.
Anyone who gets it right receives a free beer next time they're in SF.