Hard Landscaping products and marketing

I intended to write a follow up to my article regarding marketing and how much fun it can be. The article was published on LinkedIn and entitled "The Joy of Social Media", basically I wrote about using a combination of cartoons and social media for marketing.

Too much Twitter?

My original article discussed using social media with a focus on Tweeting cartoons and getting the Supreme Landscaping Products marketing message out there. Basically, the motivation was that it's great marketing because it's cheap, fun and people remember having a laugh. People really do like a little humour with their social media marketing, it works well, I know this from experience.

However, I considered my options and questioned whether my approach was 'sexy' enough to capture people's attention.

I know that hard landscaping products probably aren't the sexiest products in the world. Azpects EASYJoint or stone cleaners and sealers don't have much in common with Victoria's Secret do they?

Sex sells? Or does it?

 

Which of these photographs looks the sexiest to you?

 

EASYJoint - a tub of Buff

 

Guess which one is from Victoria's Secret. 

I considered getting adventurous and pondered taking a variety of different approaches to my marketing. Let's face it, providing new product information and explaining the amazing benefits of your great products can get a bit repetitive. Obviously, I wanted to capture people's attention, but how do you do that with paving grout, stone cleaners, sealers and statues, it's not easy right? 

I considered my options and made more cartoons.

 

Sex sells? Or does it?

 

Sales and Marketing with cartoons

Like many men, I gave Victoria's Secret more thought.

How about sex? Would it help me sell my landscaping products? I decided I need to do some research before jumping into the deep end and I found a very interesting article by Ira Kelb on the Huffington Post, here's an excerpt:

The subject of sex in advertising comes up with clients and students all the time. Many believe that sex sells even though there are so many cases when it does not. Why is it such a common belief? 

Sex is usually ineffective at selling the product

For products unrelated to sex, using sex to sell them rarely works, it can even backfire. A recent University of Wisconsin study shows that audiences view ads 10% less favorably if they use sex to sell un-sexy products.

This study confirms the data David Ogilvy accumulated over his long and storied career in advertising. In his book Ogilvy on Advertising, he says that sex sells only if it is relevant to the subject being sold. Advertising Professor Jef I. Richards from the University of Texas has a famous quote that corroborates Ogilvy’s findings — Sex sells but only if you're selling sex. 

Based on the article I carried on with the cartoons.

Sex sells? Or does it?

 

My main concerns were not offending my customers, not appearing cheap or gimmicky and the fact that people might even forget the products I was marketing, rendering the whole process redundant. Having said that photo-shopping bikini clad models with tubs of EASYJoint paving grout did appeal to me. 

I went back to the cartoons.

Sex sells? Or does it?

 

Sex sells? Or does it?

As I edited this page, it was no surprise that Victoria's Secret did cross my mind again and I decided that I needed to do a little more research. Not into Victoria's Secret, but whether or not humour really is a good way to sell products and promote brands.

Here's an excerpt from a Kim Speier article I found on Hubspot:

I think the most remarkable thing about using humour in marketing is how companies with seemingly ordinary products (landscaping products?) can make you feel like theirs is the most exciting one out there. Oftentimes it’s a product we all need, one that really isn’t much different from brand-to-brand, and one that doesn’t have much price variation. Yet, we are fascinated by its commercials and social media presence. 

When it comes to humour, it’s all about authenticity. The brands that make humour work are authentic; they know their persona and they run with it. Some companies sell arguably “boring” products, but using humour in their marketing has transformed the way consumers perceive them.

Frankly, I wouldn't call the Supreme Landscaping Products range boring, some of our statues were a bit sexy, but overall I probably wouldn't call the hard landscaping products really, really sexy.

Once again, I continued with the cartoons.

Sex sells? Or does it?

 

Sex sells? Or does it?

 

This one's for all the social media, permission marketing, Seth Godin fans out there. (If you don't know Seth, Google him, you'll be pleased you did)

 

Sex sells? Or does it?

 

So there you are, I went with the cartoons and hopefully I made the right decision. What do you think?

I guess Tweeting cartoons is far less likely to offend people than random models 'clutching' tubs of EASYJoint or languishing across a delivery of EASY Sandstone Sealer or Black Spot Remover in skimpy lace underwear, right?

Sex sells? Or does it?

Why take the risk?

Hopefully, people will have a laugh, or at least break a smile and remember the hard landscaping products we sell.

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