The task for this episode of The Apprentice finally offered a true business related task that didn’t let the candidates rely on star power or the pocket books of their rich friends. This was a true marketing oriented task. I really wish they would do more of these. On with the lessons…
Business Lesson One: Your marketing must answer questions before they are asked.
The first thing someone is going to ask themselves when seeing a bottle of lotion that is made with yogurt is going to be: Why? Eating yogurt, I get. Rubbing it on my body, not so much. Developing a marketing campaign around this particular product means that you have to answer the question of why? That’s the only real way to sell the product.
Only one team got this aspect of the task. They went out of their way to make sure information on the benefits of yogurt in a lotion were included in the brochure. They, of course, were the winning team. While the overall message in the brochure mattered, being able to answer this important question was vital to developing a complete marketing plan.
Before you set out developing a plan for any new product, stop and think about any questions this product brings up. This is especially important for any product that is new or unique from what people are used to. Once the world understands that rubbing yogurt on your body is indeed healthier to your skin then you don’t have to tell why, but until then, that information is essential to selling the product.
Business Lesson Two: Going edgy is a risk. Not going edgy can be an equal risk. Proceed with caution.
Going edgy can work for you in some cases and against you in another. Unfortunately, there are few times when it is obvious to, or not to, go edgy. If you’re up against a competitor who goes edgy and you play it safe, you can lose out for not being aggressive enough. But if you go edgy and you go just a bit too far, then you can lose out to the competitor that played it safe.
I don’t think this task was won on the edginess factor. In fact, one team almost did go too far with it. But that team still won because they had a strong message. While Trump suggested the other team could have won by going edgy with their campaign, I doubt that would have made a difference. That’s because they didn’t have a strong message in their campaign. There was no flow, no story and adding a bit of edge would have been completely gratuitous, rather than complimentary of the campaign.
If want to go edgy, be sure you know your audience and the expectations of those that approve or reject your campaign. It’s not always the best strategy to play it safe, but deciding to go edgy or not is really more about the message in the campaign. Don’t do it just to do it. Be sure it fits and helps sell the message that sells the product.
Business Lesson Three: Your marketing message must be cohesive.
Throwing a bunch of pretty pictures into a brochure doesn’t make a good campaign. The people, the setting, the visuals and the text all need to work together to create a single cohesive message. One team understood that. They told a story with their campaign that provided a beginning, middle and end. The other team, while they had some decent visuals, had no real message or coherency between all the elements of their brochure.
When developing a marketing strategy it’s great to have a lot of ideas, but you can’t just take every idea and put it into your campaign. Just because an idea is good doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for what you are trying to do. Use your ideas to develop a unified message that sells the product. Keep the ideas that work with your message and throw out what doesn’t.