Its fun to have a boss that is willing to brainstorm and expand outside the zone of comfort.  Bateman IP is doing just that with its marketing presence.

For those of you who saw the title and said, “duh, fundamental principle.”  You’re right.  And yet, new businesses don’t seem to get it.  Even old ones put on the stupid – see Johnson & Johnson suing the Red Cross (if you don’t see how selling products that heal people and suing healers conflicts in terms of marketing, ponder awhile).

Business fulfills unmet needs.  Those needs are latent or active, which means that either people seek you out or you have to convince them to seek you out.

If consumers seek out your product category, then you have to convince them that your best attributes are the most important attributes.  Remember that Charmin toiletpaper is cuddly soft.

If your consumers don’t know that they need you, you have to convince them that life is better as your partner.  Pessimists call this creating a need.  Optimists call this discovering a need.  Its probably somewhere in between.  Think about anything that gets “buzz.”  Remember the need to watch American Idol, Survivor or Harry Potter?  Its sure not a need we just have at the forefront of our brain.

Pretty fundamental, eh?  Well what happens if you mix it up?  You fall flat on your face.  Sending consumers info about how your washer/dryer/toaster combo has all the great features and long-lasting does nothing to create the need (I’m not sure I want my carbs tasting like laundered underwear).  On the other hand, if you convince more people to buy toiletpaper instead of using bidets, then you’ve just worked hard to increase the market without helping your bottom line.

Take some time to notice the ads around you.  Ask yourself if they are activating a need or steering me to their attributes.  Then ask yourself if that is the correct strategy for you.  The more you think about it, the more you’ll be able to leverage it in your own life.