October 09, 2014

What Is A "Hook"?

Look at my visit to the Progressive Insurance website? Who do you see depicted?

That's Flo! You know that because you've seen ads featuring Flo somewhere just shy of 34,000 times in the past few years. She's their marketing "hook", the tactic they use to obtain your attention.

Sort of like "Nationwide is on your side".

Or 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on your car insurance.

In other words, the insurance industry understands the importance of a "hook".

There are other effective "hooks", like this one from Paul Fredrick.

In their case, magazine ads coupled with a great deal ... that's a "hook".

This is also a hook, I suppose.

The problem with this hook is that too many companies utilize it, and when too many people utilize it, the effectiveness of the hook is diluted - you lose profit and nobody cares, all at the same time.

Catalogers are constantly contacting me ... "How can I get better response from the co-ops, the co-ops are killing my business in 2014!" Why are you dependent upon the co-ops in the first place? Do you put 70% of your retirement investment in Sears stock?

What is your marketing hook? Is it a spokesperson? A cartoon character? A great item at a great price? Incessant discounting? Customer service? Free shipping (product shipped in 24 hours) and free returns, like Zappos? An Amazon Prime clone? An app ecosystem like the one Apple nurtures to get folks to keep using their phones?

If you don't have a marketing hook, well, then you at the mercy of the vendor partners you decide to work with, you are simply relegated to mechanical tactics.

When a catalog leader contacts me with a business performance question, I usually ask what their "hook" is? Most often, I don't get an answer, which, ultimately, is the answer to why business isn't great.