What Marketers Can Learn from Winnie the Pooh

Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Golf, Inbound Marketing, Lead Generation, Post To Home Page | 0 comments

What Marketers Can Learn from Winnie the Pooh

You may not know the movie that made it famous (Field of Dreams), or know which actor said it (Kevin Costner), but chances are you have heard this classic line:

“If you build it, [they] will come”

So here’s the catch (excuse my baseball pun): what helped a movie garner Best Screenplay and Best Picture nods won’t help you succeed in business.

January 18th is National Winnie-the-Pooh Day, and in honor of Winnipeg’s beloved bear, let’s consider his perspective instead:


Image courtesy of Amazon

There’s an antiquated opinion entrenched in business that a quality product does its own marketing, and that excellence speaks for itself. But sadly for those in the product development world, the best products don’t always win; many inferior products have won product wars because they were marketed better.

Last year Ad Age placed these competitor brands head-to-head to ask what really makes one better than the other:

  • Google vs. Bing
  • Energizer vs. Duracell
  • Nike vs. Adidas
  • Staples vs. Office Depot

The result across the board was that No. 1 brands are top of mind: a result of better marketing campaigns that set one comparable, or arguably inferior, product ahead in terms of consumer recognition and recall.

How to Leave the Forest

These days, staying in the forest doesn’t just refer to a hands-off approach of letting the product (try to) speak for itself. It also refers to outdated marketing platforms that aren’t actively engaging the right audience.

Take those infamous Golf Channel infomercials, for instance. While they may have convinced generations past to pick up the phone, no millennial today is going to buy from a flashing on-screen number. As the golfing population (and their consumption of information) evolves, industry marketing initiatives need to keep up.

That doesn’t mean television advertising is dead. As we’ve seen, Golf Channel has captivated just the right affluent audience to make their commercial time valuable. With the right viewers exposed to the latest gadgets and gizmos, this outbound marketing stream establishes a strong first impression. The next step is to place the product in the right marketplace; a venue in which millennials have already placed their trust (definitely not a 1-800 number).

Conversion is Crucial

It’s time to retire the sales/marketing dichotomy alongside those terrible “Potty Putter” infomercials.  Great marketing doesn’t just “support sales”; it needs to drive them.  Jen Houston of the Content Marketing Institute says it best…

“Content doesn’t end at creation, curation, or distribution. It ends after that lead has been identified, nurtured, and has finally taken a sales action.”

Engagement isn’t just about spreading knowledge or awareness of your brand; it’s about acquiring quality leads and  converting them to sales.

With so many competitors in your forest already engaging your target market, you can’t afford to sit back and wait for traffic to come to you.

In other words, if you build it, you’d better sell it too.

 Happy Birthday, Pooh Bear – and thanks for the lessons we never seem to outgrow!