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Week of 9/18/23

Morning Minute: 9/19/23

Can You: “Read The Room?”

Quick, what was the #1 selling new car in 1983?

331,179 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes were sold making it the #1 selling new car that year. Where is Oldsmobile now? It ended production in 2004.

What happened? Their leadership forgot how to “Read The Room!”

In marketing, “Reading The Room” requires you to know whom you are speaking to. You must know who your current customers are, so your marketing speaks directly to them, while attracting new buyers. That is a delicate balancing act.  

Let’s use Oldsmobile as an example.

In 1983, most current Oldsmobile buyers were age 54 or older. They were mostly married home owners with grown children. They were buying sedans at a rate 4 times higher than coupes. In 1987, that ratio had increased to 8 sedans for every coupe sold. When the redesigned 1988 Cutlass Supreme was introduced it was only available as a coupe. That caused Oldsmobile owners who wanted a midsize sedan to buy elsewhere.

Then, in their attempt to attract younger buyers, they repositioned themselves advertising that: “This is not your Father’s Oldsmobile!” That marketing slogan alienated their older customer base. Those two missteps, coupled with quality issues, ended their brand in 2004. They did not “Read The Room!”  

Modern day examples: “Budweiser,” “Target,” and “Disney,” have seen greatly reduced sales because they did not recognize their current customers. By not “Reading The Room” they have alienated their current customers with messages that mocked their values.   

Now, professional speakers will tailor their messages based on their audience. In tailoring your marketing, “Reading The Room,” requires that you know both the demographics and the psychographics of your audience.

Demographics identifies your ideal customer based on age, gender, location, education, marital status, income, employment, and ethnicity. For example, your ideal customer may be a woman, ages 25-54, a professional earning at least $50K, with children, having some college education, living in a city, who has Hispanic heritage.

Psychographics includes values, hobbies, aspirations, transportation, how they communicate, where they get their information, how they spend their money, and how they spend their time. In addition to the ideal customer demographics, they may be church goers leaning slightly conservative, use text to communicate, who get their news from CNN, spend at least $250 monthly on clothing, play tennis, who are seeking career advancement, and own a car.

In summary, to market your product or service effectively, you must identify your ideal customer using both demographics and psychographics.

In other words, you must learn to “Read The Room?”

That is today’s Morning Minute.

Morning Minute 9/22/23 "It Looked Good On Paper, But...?"

Morning Minute: 9/22/23

It Looked Good On Paper, But…”

Here are three examples:

Their plans made perfect sense.

The massive fleet secretly set out to destroy their enemy’s air and sea power in the Pacific. The enemy’s planes and ships were all together in port and lined up on airstrips, making it easier for carrier aircraft to attack and destroy them.  

The football coach, watching game film and reading the scouting report, knew his opponent would first try to establish their running game on offense. So, his game plan had his defense crowding the line of scrimmage to stop their run game.

By buying the small software company, the big auto manufacturer assumed that the acquisition would give them the ability to assist their dealers to sell more vehicles.

All there examples made sense on paper. However, in war, sports, business, and life, your opponents get a vote on how to respond. They can, and they will, pivot to overcome and defeat your plans.

In December 1941, the Japanese fleet decimated the ships and aircraft of the Americans in Hawaii. Five months later, after cracking the Japanese communication code, the Americans pivoted to offense, winning the battle of the Coral Sea, changing the course of World War II.

The opposing coach in the football game, assumed his rival coach would crowd the line of scrimmage to stop his running game. He had his team pivot, changing from a run first offense to passing on first down. When the other coach pivoted back to defend against their passing attack, it created an opportunity to win by reverting back to their successful running attack.

When the big auto manufacturer bought the software company they assumed that acquisition would increase market share. When the auto company could not pivot to meet improving software available from other vendors, it sold the small software firm for fraction of what they paid for it.

My message to you is this:

1.  1)       In any competition, be alert and flexible enough to make small pivots, to either defeat your opponent, or take advantage of changing opportunities.

2. 2)   Always assume that your opponent will pivot to meet your challenge. Anticipate how they may pivot, and develop your own plans to meet those new opportunities.

3.  3)   Keep your organization lean and flexible. In a fight, bigger is not always better.

4.  4)      And remember, in any competition, your opponent always gets a vote.

It Looked Good On Paper, But…”

That’s today’s Morning Minute.