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    Building Product Marketing Icons – Old vs. New

    Steve Jobs, the king of digital, taught us that “Traditional Media” is not dead.

    It seems everyday in the building product industry, we are being told traditional marketing methods are dead and digital only is the way. With continued sluggish sales and knowing the building product industry is going to stay compressed for the foreseeable future, we are all pressured to prove the return on every marketing dollar spent. As a result, traditional advertising has been analyzed more than ever.

    Michael Learmonth, digital editor for AdAge, recently wrote an interesting article of how Steve Jobs embraced traditional advertising and branding strategies throughout the evolution of Apple.  Here is my summary of some points that I think are worth sharing and remembering for the building industry.

    It’s hard to believe that an icon in the marketing industry with a brand that enticed us to move into the mobile and digital world was a traditional marketer at heart. At a time when marketers obsess over the virtues of targeting, “likes,” dashboards, platforms of all kinds for social-media-monitoring schemes, Mr. Jobs kept it simple: tell the story of how an amazing product can change your life in the best environment possible.

    According to published reports, Apple’s media spend was estimated at $420 million in 2010, dominated by network TV, newspapers, magazines, circulars, and billboards. Less than 10% of total spend went to anything digital. A bit ironic that the one company that made us “go digital” didn’t only use digital for their branding initiatives.

    “Even a great brand needs investment and caring if it is going to retain its relevance and vitality,” Mr. Jobs said to staff in 1997. He believed advertising was a core part of building a brand, selling products and creating an entire customer experience. He also saw the advertising as inextricable from the product. That’s because the product wasn’t an iMac, iPod or iPhone, it was the brand itself and how a well-designed product—any product—can make life better.

    As marketers serving the building product industry trying to re-invent itself after the worse decline in decades, we are overwhelmed with all the different marketing/communication options available to us. But in the end, the brand stories we deliver are the most important part of the equation, not the latest technology or metric we are intrigued with.

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    About The Author

    Renae Krause

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