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Ask any Chief Marketing Office or Marketing Director what their annual sales are and you’ll get an answer. Ask about the annual marketing budget. Quick answer. Cost of goods, manufactures suggested retail price, market share? These are questions for which marketing leads all have answers.

Two questions likely to baffle CMOs and marketing directors, however, are: What is your brand strategy (claim)? And what are your brand planks (proofs of claim)? Most marketers know their business KPIs, but don’t have them translated into brand-benefit language. The language that give them life and memorability. CMOs use business school phrases like “low cost provider,” “more for more,” “innovation leader”, “customer at center of flah flah flah…”, but that’s not how consumers speak.  

claim and proof

The key to brand planning is knowing what consumers want and what the brand is good at. (“Good ats” and “care-abouts”.) Combining these things into a poetic claim and three discrete support planks is the organizing principle that focuses marketing and makes it more accountable. Across every expense line on the Excel chart.

Stuart Elliott, advertising columnist of The New York Times should make this a requisite question in all his interviews. “What is your brand strategy?” If he gets any semblance of a claim and proof array, I’ll be surprised. Peace!

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I had a good day yesterday.  Meetings in SoHo, Union Square Park and Park Avenue South.  All the smart people I spoke with and listened to were in the selling business. One gentleman sold brand strategy and ideas, though he had a hard time telling me what his functional title was. Another couple of guys were in the “experience” business, with those experiences spanning online, offline and inline media. They, too, agreed it was hard to explain their company Is-Does. And the last group, a panel at the Brandhackers Meetup, was all about digital advertising: media planning, research, analytics automation, and creative.

What was interesting to me, fascinating really, was that they all understood and agreed with the Foster, Bias & Sales model of marketing. Their tools and areas of marketing influence may have been different, but everyone understood that marketing is about creating a positive atmosphere for healthy growth (Foster), establishing a predisposition toward the product or service (positive Bias) and creating action (Sales).  Sure, the digital ad people at Brandhackers may have peppered their talk with KPIs (key performance indicators) and soft mealy measures, but they had all been around the block enough to know that Sales is da monies.

I always wanted to open an ad agency called Foster, Bias and Sales.  It was a great strategy.  The Problem was, and is, that ad agencies are not best at providing the Foster, Bias & Sales continuum. Integrated shops are. The tool kit is overflowing and very exciting.  Clients were the first to see it…they just don’t know how to manage it.  Now agencies need to deliver. Peace!

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