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The Principles Of Marketing
Good thought. Having written (or co-written) 11 books on the subject, I can see how our basic principles can get buried in a blizzard of examples and case histories.
What’s the No.1 principle of marketing, at least as far as we’re concerned?
It’s the principle of focus. You narrow the focus in order to own a word in the mind of the consumer.
Without a focus, it’s very difficult to build a strong brand. And without a strong brand, any company’s future is in doubt.
While “focus” should be the key ingredient in any marketing campaign, it’s not the whole story. So we developed an acronym called “FOCVS” which does sum up our key thoughts.
FOCVS, a word using the original alphabet of the Roman Empire, consists of five key elements.
F is for “First.”
Nothing works better in marketing than being the first brand in a new category in the mind.
• Starbucks in high-end coffee.
• Red Bull in energy drinks.
• BlackBerry in wireless email.
There are two issues, however, than many people miss. The first issue is what we mean by being “first.”
It’s the first brand in the mind that matters. Not the first brand in the category. Powells.com was the first Internet bookstore, but not in the mind.
The first brand in the mind was Amazon.com.
The second issue is “focus.” It’s always possible to become the first brand in a new category by narrowing your focus.
Take Dell which became the world’s No.1 brand of personal computer. Dell wasn’t the first personal computer in the mind. (Apple, IBM and a host of other brands got into the mind long before Michael Dell’s creation.)
Dell Computer narrowed its focus to direct sales only, the first brand to do so. This was the key decision that made the Dell brand a worldwide success.
Dell didn’t get started until 1984, nine years after the first personal computer hit the market. By 1984, the market was saturated with computer manufacturers. As Business Week reported in its August 8, 1983 issue: “Pounding on corporate doors are more than 150 makers of personal computers.”
Suppose you had said to one of these 150: “Let’s narrow the focus to direct sales only.”
That’s probably the opposite of what they wanted to do. “We need more distribution, not less,” might have been the likely response.
It gets worse. In that same issue, Business Week reported: “Computer and office automation companies are beginning to pitch comprehensive office systems that offer everything from personal computers to large central computers as well as the communications to connect all the equipment. This list of companies includes Burroughs, Data General, Digital Equipment, International Business Machines, Sperry, and Wang.”
(None of these PC brands are currently being marketed.)
Narrow the focus? Everybody was doing...