What a Toothpaste Dispenser Can Teach Us About Ecommerce Marketing

toothpaste_dispenserIt’s amazing how well some of these infomercial products sell. Sometimes you just can’t change the channel and must see how wonderful the item “really” is… I think ecommerce merchants can learn a thing or two (both good and bad) from watching how these marketers position their products.

It’s so easy…

That’s what my 5 year old daughter said after watching the infomercial pictured above (The hands free toothpaste dispenser). She immediately started lobbying me to buy this product with phrases such as:

  • She won’t make a mess anymore
  • It would be easier for her to brush her teeth
  • She could brush her teeth on her own now

Seems the infomercial had quite an impact on her and she quickly picked up on the benefits this product had to offer…

They know their target audience!

Effective infomercials know who their ideal customers are, and tailor their message to appeal to them directly. In this example, they knew that little kids would watch this ad (as it often aired on Nickelodeon) and therefore made it easy to understand and fun to watch. And the messages presented would appeal to parents who either saw (or heard from their kids) what a great product the company had to offer.

They made the benefits concrete, easy to understand, and most importantly, matched those benefits with their target demographic for maximum impact!

E-tailers must do the same thing

There are a few lessons to take away from this simple story:

  • Identify your target demographic
    Without knowing who your base customer really is, it’s impossible to make your marketing truly effective. If you sell jeans, and your new product line is a slimming pair of jeans, it’s important to know who might buy it. Maybe it’s designed (and appeals to) mothers with young/teenage children.
  • Create your marketing material to match this demographic
    Once you’ve identified who your product will likely appeal to, make sure the message matches their expectations. In the above example of “slimming jeans for moms”, an ad that has a statement about turning heads in a crowded bar will probably not resonate as well as ones like:
    Get your husband to take a second look
    Be the envy of the PTA
    Your teenage daughter will want these jeans
  • Get these ads and marketing materials in front of your demographic
    Don’t miss the mark when it comes to “where to advertise”. Infomercials surgically target the right tv stations and times to get maximum effect. You wouldn’t want to market these jeans for moms at the new “Call of Duty” video game website. Make sure you choose the right venues for getting your message out there.

Don’t actually be an infomercial product

Unless your product is actually an infomercial-like product, don’t associate your product with the “stigma” many infomercials carry. Namely, being seen as flimsy or not actually working as it’s being demonstrated to perform.

One of my friends who purchased this dispenser found it to keep falling off the wall, and one time a simple pull by one of his kids caused the backing to peel off much of the drywall it was attached to.

The best way to earn a great reputation is to make sure that your products and services always live up to the marketing statements you make. Stand behind your promises, and to truly “wow” them, make the actual product or service exceed expectations.

What examples have you found to be helpful for selling online? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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