In late 2000, I read former Coke CMO Sergio Zyman's book, The End Of Marketing As We Know It. He argued that promotions, advertising, positioning, messaging and packaging should all be seen "as a service that adds value when you buy, own or consume the product."
He continues that it should not be an interruption, broadcast or self-serving effort. His example: Coke, Its Refreshing. Prior to this being their marketing strap, they studied Coke consumers' tendency to feel refreshed after drinking their product. As the marketing program rolled out via commercial media, they retested their consumers…and guess what? They felt much more refreshed. Why? Because the marketing engaged them and set their expectations accordingly.
My takeaway was simple, but life changing: Marketing is the free service that can lead to a paid service or product purchase. Bud has entertained us and inspired us for free, and when we consume the product we likely smile, remembering the ad we recently saw. Progressive insurance marketing choice to us, which changed the insurance buying process. Apple showed us how to use their iPhone in TV ads, and we had an easier time using it once purchased.
In a recent post, Seth Godin talks about why a good book cover is a service that adds value when you own it. (The Purpose Of Book Covers)
Review marketing in the future under that lens, and weed out the non-serving interruptions and announcements. What will be left? Good marketing that works!