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Predatory Marketing with Ashton Bishop

Recently, on Eagle Business radio ( we interviewed Predatory Marketing expert Ashton Bishop. He has operates a new way to think about the position of a business within the marketplace, and when these ideas are applied to a marketing strategy, they have proven to be quite successful.

Traditionally, all marketing done by both large and small business was geared toward satisfying people’s needs, but times have changed and those needs no longer drive purchasing choices. Bishop suggests that we need to look at what consumers don’t need, and further, what they want. Every year in Australia, over $6.72 billion are spent on advertising messages, and that money translates into over a million advertising messages per year, or about 3,000 per day. At least 80-90% of those messages are totally ineffective, for they are simply generic messages which don’t change consumer behavior. Those generic messages actually strengthen the market position of competitors. Often small businesses will advertise what they do, but consumers actually hear only part of that message and assume that it comes from their competitors—the exact opposite of what we want our marketing to do.

So then the question arises: how can we create marketing messages that will be heard and utilized by the public?

Ashton Bishop has formulated a method which, which when utilized, can set any business apart from its competition. His method begins with answering four questions:

1. Find out who has your money. The dollars you are striving for are within the economy. If you are going to grow your business, you need to look at both your small and large competitors and decide if they have “your money” or if your money is totally outside of your industry.

2. Once you determine who has the money, figure out what their greatest strength or advantage is.

3. Now, look for the weakness that comes out of that greatest strength.

4. Take that weakness and strength, then utilize them for your relative advantage within the market.

A good example of these principles put to work is a recent campaign by Burger King. Their greatest competitor is McDonalds, number one behemoth in the hamburger industry. McD’s greatest strength is that every hamburger being served by them conforms to their company standard, or in other words, all products are uniform. On a certain level, this is a good thing for consumers are assured that they will always receive the same product. However, uniformity also implies rigidity or no change. BK took this concept, applied it to customer wants, and turned it around for the company into a campaign that read “Have it your way.” What customer would not want choices in their foods?

Another example is Avis: “We’re #2 and we try harder.” Who doesn’t like an underdog, especially when they are trying so hard to please us?

There are marketing basics which still apply when employing this novel marketing strategy. Any marketing campaign should have three things: impact (do you get noticed?), communication (are you clear and objective?), and persuasion (are you persuasive enough?).  In addition, you actually have to have a good product before you start any campaign.

Good advertising can’t save a bad product. You should also consider the content of your message. If you blatantly criticize a competitor, you will fail. However, if you go out to champion a cause or educate the public in a way that benefits them, your campaign will work. The consumers have to benefit in some way.

If you are not satisfied with the response to your traditional advertising, turn your thinking around. Consider the criteria that Ashton Bishop explores when he is creating a new strategy. Quit aiding your competitors, and benefit your consumers. Your bottom line will thank you.

To hear the full interview click here

Ashton Bishop is a Marketing Strategist for Step Change Marketing

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