3 Things Smart Marketers Can Teach Us

08 May 3 Things Smart Marketers Can Teach Us

Media companies are notoriously awful at telling their own stories. We can and should learn from those who do it well.

I wrote recently that it’s not what a product can do, but what it can do for you, using Samsung and Apple as examples. Shortly after that post, Samsung introduced a new commercial for its Galaxy 4S smart phone that shows what the phone will do for users rather than simply showing its technological prowess. Watch it below:

My 20-something son says he likes the Galaxy commercial, which none too subtly positions the iPhone as a dysfunctional toy old fogeys use. Apparently Samsung knows its target audience, but to this old fogey,  the commercial seems unnecessarily mean spirited. I much prefer the positive feelings evoked by the Apple iPhone commercial I wrote about before:


In another example of technology triumphing over good sense, Microsoft  falls into the trap of showing what its Surface can do rather than what you can do with it. In fact, after watching this commercial and another more recent version, I assume the Surface makes one want to dance. I still haven’t a clue what to do with the Surface save for removing and reattaching its clever keyboard cover. This is badvertising to the nth degree:

As it happens I am not a huge fan of the current crop of iPad commercials, either. However, it cannot be denied that you have a sense of things you can do with the iPad and maybe how it can make your life better or at least less boring after watching for just a few seconds below:

If your boss just walked by and wondered aloud why you are watching all these videos, the point is this: Local media companies almost universally do a poor job of promoting themselves. When we do promote, too often we fail to tell our viewers, readers, site visitors and listeners what local media enables them to do that they can’t do without us. But that’s easy for me to say, hard for you to do.

Apple, Starbucks, McDonald’s (think Happy Meals), Whole Foods. . .  all sell commodity goods and services that they elevate from commonplace to a higher level of desirability, often at a higher price. How do they do it?

  • They evoke positive emotions
  • They make us feel good about spending time and money with them
  • They lift up our spirits and make life seem better

This is what our industry needs to do – what we must do – not just to survive today’s tough environment, but to flourish in the years ahead. Almost without exception, local media work hard to better the communities where they operate. Your station or paper has more substance than coffee or burgers. I’ll wager it does more good for folks than Apple or Whole Foods. Unfortunately, doing good is highly overrated if you don’t get credit for it and people don’t understand what you do.

Tomorrow: One that does it right.