Universities don’t teach us marketing intuition. They hardly ever touch upon the creative aspect of marketing and what you can do to hone your creative skills. So let’s talk about a few simple steps and one habit you can develop to improve your marketing intuition.
Develop Marketing Intuition Through TV Commercials 📺
We’ve all seen that same ‘stupid’ commercial a dozen times and we don’t know why this multi-billion dollar company continues to run it when we could think of such a better commercial, right? At least I know I have, the Chantix commercial with Ray Liotta and the NerdWallet commercial come on at least 5 times a day in my work office… 🙄
We’ve seen Mad Men, we’ve seen TV commercials and we just don’t understand why good commercials are ‘good’ and what is so good about them.
So what can we do about it??? Let’s study them.
First, let’s build a list of 5 critical questions that we want answers to; this may be different for every business, but here are my 5 questions:
- Who is this ad targeting?
- What is the goal of this ad?
- What emotion is the ad trying to convey?
- What is the (subtle) focal point of the ad?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would I rate this ad knowing that I may not be the target audience?
This is something that you can do sitting at home watching TV whenever an ad comes on. Grab a pen and paper and start to jot down what you see and hear. If you turn this into a habit whenever you’re watching TV, you’ll develop intuitive marketing intuition skills but it’s not enough to do it just one or two times.
Remember to look for subtle clues and think about what they might mean. Is there a dog in the commercial, is there a family in the commercial, is it winter or summer? These are multi-million dollar commercials and every little detail of it was planned out far in advance so there are no coincidences. But anyway, let’s discuss how to use these questions to develop marketing intuition.
Who is this ad targeting? 👪
This is the most important question to answer because everything else will follow. Maybe the ad is stupid to you because you’re not in their target audience. So how do you figure this out and what sort of information do you look for?
First off, what is the product? In my example, the Ray Liotta Chantix ad is targeting smokers who’re trying to quit. That’s obvious, but there are millions of smokers in the U.S so who’re they targeting specifically?
Tough guys. Not only is Ray Liotta known for his gangster roles in Goodfellas but he even starts off the ad saying “In my roles, I tend to play the tough guy, but I wasn’t tough enough to quit on my own”. (I know the ad verbatim at this point.) This ad clearly isn’t meant for women, probably because there are more male smokers in the U.S. than there are women. It’s also not targeted at just any man, it’s for the ones who have too much pride to “quit” anything. It’s for the manly man who can control his body to go to the gym or do physical labor but can’t control his mind to stop smoking on his own, and even though he may have never admitted it to anyone, he’s tried before.
2. What is the goal of this ad? 💰
The goal of this ad to is to convey to these so-called “tough guys” that it’s okay to seek for help. That not everything has to be done on your own, it’s not a masculinity contest and seeking outside help isn’t necessarily a sign of weakness. The goal of the commercial isn’t to sell them a Chantix patch right then and there and that’s why there is no call to action saying to “visit our website” or “call today”. It is a longer sales funnel and it starts with breaking down the barriers to entry and marketing intuition tells us that the most effective way to do this is through emotion.
3. What emotion is the ad trying to convey? 😂😞😭
This is clearly a serious ad and it can be shown all throughout the production of the ad. It’s a very somber mood. The sky is gray and the room is empty and looks cold. He’s playing with his wedding ring and it’s indicating that he’s having problems with his marriage and that by using Chantix to stop smoking it’s improved his marriage. The sky begins to light up towards the end of the commercial and it’s the first time he smiles all commercial and then; hey, what do you know – a dog comes out of nowhere and he starts playing with it. So this ad isn’t only geared towards the tough buy, but also the family man and even appeals to the wives of husbands who smoke.
4. What is the (subtle) focal point of the ad? 🎯
The unspoken focus of the whole ad is how stopping smoking can bring happiness back to your life. The mood is depressing and the beginning of the ad when he’s talking about when he used to smoke. It affected his career, his marriage, and his happiness. Towards the end of the commercial everything seems to be on the up-and-up and it’s all thanks to Chantix.
5. On a scale of 1-10, how would I rate this ad knowing that I may not be the target audience? 💯
For this ad, I know that I’m not the target audience but I think it’s a really well-constructed advertisement and my marketing intuition rates it an 8.6.