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Peru

The Magical Marketing Formula Is So Simple

In Peru, for example, keep your eye on the *Chopers.

Hocking your wares as easy as...
Hocking your wares as easy as...
Carlos Escaffi

LIMA – Having read countless theories of marketing and attended seminars by some of the gurus of the trade, I have finally found the defining formula for our line of work that relies above all on its simplicity: matching common sense with market knowledge.

What do we really mean by marketing? Many of us will have heard the concepts debated, studied the lingo and acronyms. We focus on the shopper (or Choper as we keep saying in Peru), the four Ps, which have become the five Cs, or was it six; we talk about market penetration, CRM (customer relationship management), "top-of-mind awareness," and so on.

Then we wind up discovering that the smartest marketing person in the room is a woman who did not get around to graduating university, but instead mastered the art of understanding both her market and clients. When we speak of clients, of course, that also includes those inside the firm who must buy into your marketing strategy.

Nobody in the world of marketing wants to receive calls from sales chiefs telling us they missed their targets because we didn't sufficiently identify or communicate the selling point.

Unfortunately in Peru, the business world is caught in a vicious circle of our own making: an addiction to using price discounts as the only way to hook potential customers.

Every day we expect discounts, even in taxis, or freebies in shops where we’ve bought something. Yet marketing is not just promotions, price cuts and gifts, and requires both more administration and imagination.

You may ask, how can I compete when rivals in the marketplace have more attractive prices? I would be tempted to answer, did you never read a Blue Ocean handbook? Why enter into a price war or emulate the competition in displays or publicity? The blessed choper is tired of seeing the same old promotions.

Just two categories

As difficult as it is to leave the comfort and safety of traditional patterns, you should seek to present something different, find innovative approaches, try something new, break the mould. That is the only way to stand out.

Apple may be the best contemporary example to cite, having managed to divide smart phones into two categories: iPhone and everything else.

Returning to the common sense I mentioned: The other day I was in my "Green Bank" (let's call it that) to pay some taxes, and was pleasantly surprised to find they had changed their customer reception service. Now there was a high-tech machine where you inserted your details and your name appeared on a high-tech screen (beneath 50 other names). This had replaced long lines, the special lines for VIP or "premium" clients and the disorder that can surprise you, usually when you are about to reach the counter. Now you wait your turn on a sofa and there are coffee machines.

My point is that the super high-tech system claimed to be more "personal" when we know perfectly well we are all code numbers in a system. I then went to the "Orange Bank" to make other payments and there, the line was stretching out of the branch (as customers waited under Lima's cold drizzle), for lack of space inside (though the bank was clearly empty inside).

In conclusion, the customer neither wants this nor that. A bank customer wants to spend the least time possible there, which requires a little common sense. If they knew a little of what we the Choperswant, they could save themselves the high-tech machines and employ staff with more common sense. That's marketing.

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