Blah! trumps “WOW!”; why the court of public opinion is now more powerful than advertising

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Char1 At the just completed PlayCon, I was privileged to hear Michael Cohen speak.  Michael’s company, the aptly named Michael Cohen Group, is a research organization where, as their website puts it “…expertise in research, evaluation, learning, child development, media, marketing and strategic communications all converge.”

Michael made a profound impact on me and I believe many in the room when he shared with us his proprietary survey that fully 25% of all toys purchased are either never taken out of the package and if taken out are only played with once.  Michael stated that this was the highest rate of non-use he had seen in any product category. 

That figure may or may not startle you.  After all, a great deal of our industry’s marketing efforts goes into creating the “WOW!” factor on the shelf but not necessarily on the aftermarket experience. 

Any of us who have fallen for a great TV campaign knows what it is like to get the product home and instead find it to be more BLAH!  than “WOW!”  That is something the consumer has always lived with…until now.  

Here is where Michael wowed me!   He explained that a decade ago one person’s bad experience would be shared with a handful; today’s bad experience can, with the click of a mouse, be shared with millions.  That means that social networking and its ability to share after market experiences is now, according to Michael, more powerful than advertising.  Produce a product that is lackluster and the world will know.

What this means, at least to me, is that the future of any great new product is going to depend on more than low prices and great TV.  It is going to have to fulfill its promise. 

To my way of thinking… “WOW!”  That is one great challenge. 

One thought

  1. I agree, this is a big part of the tectonic shift we’re seeing in the board and cardgame sector. The sizzle is still important but it’s increasingly the steak that makes the sizzle happen rather than a flashy marketing campaign. Truly successful products in this industry are increasingly ones that demonstrate continued sales (and even growth) over the longer term, not just a large, fad-based initial spike with a sharp drop-off thereafter.

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