5 “i’s of Marketing

Sure the "Ps" of marketing are a great foundation, but when marketing is tasked with driving the creation of the core offering, add 5 I's:

Irresistibility: In order to guarantee the ability to break through the clutter most powerfully and achieve dominate shares of market – especially but not exclusively in high involvement categories -- there has to be something about the product and marketing that is truly irresistible. Without irresistibility, you’re going nowhere. For different segments, what drives that irresistibility will be different. The combination of Apple brand values built into nearly every one of their products has indeed created a high degree of irresistibility in their category: unprecedented capability-extending convenience for every day tasks, elegant design, intuitive operability, high quality, etc. Who wouldn’t want to have a question answering personal assistant built right into a device you can hold in your hand? The advertising for the iPhone has been irresistible too as it focused on the capabilities and personal enjoyment to be gained from them. Irresistibility results in "I want it."

Irreplaceability: This is no small task in a world abundant with options. Still, driving ourselves to create moments of engagement that can’t be easily obtained by any other means provides the differentiation brands so ardently seek. This is the argument for marketers to be central figures in the innovation efforts of companies, not just the leaders of communications. CMO's keeping an eye on how the product, the packaging, the purchasing and on-going usage experience is part of brand management can use their customer centric orientation to help spur development of authentically unique offerings. That then makes the comms task a whole lot easier because then it is about emphasizing truths rather than spinning desirability out of "me to" sameness. (Anyone remember "Zune"?) That said, dimensionalizing the brand values in the marketing is just as important as influence on product development. I give an example below but for now, let's recognize that irreplaceability results in "I want your version of the product and no other substitute will satisfy as powerfully."

Indelibility: Much has been written about ideas that stick and the first two "i's" are critical qualities in the product/service development effort. The requirement is doing that consistently in every single product and aspect of the purchase/use experience. When it comes to the communication of this -- the part of the exercise traditionally thought of as "the marketing" -- the challenge is reflecting the irresistibility and irreplaceability of the brand through a marketing experience that is also unique in itself while putting the brand values into high relief. When this happens, the experience of that outsized satisfaction implants deeply in the psyche of the consumer. It results in the brand equity that allows one to cash in on the efforts behind Irresistibility and irreplaceability at the moment of consumer choice rather than lose out to a competitor over brand confusion.

Example of all three “i’s rolled into one experience? The combination of brand experience communicated in the ad campaign contrasting the Microsoft based technology world vs. the Apple one -- one world in which things never work simply enough compared with a world in which things work intuitively -- supported by the Apple products themselves, the ability to try them in the store easily and with the aid of knowledgeable brand ambassadors pre-purchase,  and the Genius Bar at the stores to take care of us post-purchase. Together, we get an irresistible, irreplaceable, and indelible brand experience. Why? It's irresistible through its answering of a strong "want" with ease. It's irreplaceable until a competitor finds a way to surpass it. And it's indelible due to the powerful integration of brand values built into the product, the service and the advertising. This integration gives the brand its fourth "i", Integrity.

Employing the first three “i’s isn’t easy, especially doing it consistently to the point of achieving the fourth one. It requires an unrelenting pursuit of high standards and the courage to hold out for the achievement of them. That means Job’s actually left us a fifth “i” to consider: “Insistence.”

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