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The one unreliable feature that marketers hate is that X-factor, that je ne sais qua, that thing where logic and rationale surrenders itself to emotion and instinct.

I hear marketers running their mouth all of the time about the famous academic 5 P's of marketing- price, people, placement, product and promotion.

However, I think these marketing people forgot the most important "p" of all- perception.

I love crunching numbers into statistics in the interest of exacting a more sound marketing approach. However, at the end of the day people make decisions based more on instincts and emotions rather than figures and facts.

Now it's true that most people do actually research important information regarding products, especially ones that are more expensive such as cars, homes and caskets. But at the end of the day, people create their own reality based on relative truth and subjective thinking. Funny world isn't it?

The executives at Coke in 1985 were on the edge of their seats when it came time to release New Coke.

They conducted surveys of over 200,000 people who stated that New Coke tasted better than all Pepsi Cola products, as well as the original Coca-Cola itself. Naturally the Coke-heads unveiled it to the public along with an aggressive marketing campaign which would exploit their "scientific" findings that New Coke was superior in flavor to all relevant competitors. Did it work? Well, when was the last time you saw New Coke in the supermarket?

Coca-Cola had already established its brand, and people were satisfied by that alone. They didn't necessarily want a better tasting drink, they wanted the little red can, and those same old commercials of Santa leaving presents under the tree right before gulping down a delicious can of savory Coca-Cola Classic.

Ask yourself one question before you leave this post and go back to your taste-cakes and Ricky Martin CD's- think of one person you were in a prolonged relationship with.

Would everyone you know agree that they were the best person to spend time (intimate and sociable) with? That one thing you loved about them, would everybody agree that they excelled at that trait? It's easy to see how different each person's perception differs from the next.

The point is that price, product, placement, people and promotion knock on the door, but perception in marketing is the key.

Don't compete — DOMINATE.


Matt Steffen

"Don't compete -- DOMINATE!"

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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.