Wednesday, November 13, 2013

because I'm in love with rock'n'roll double jeapordy

The marketing phenomenon that is perhaps the hardest one for many marketers to stomach, the duplication of purchase law, can be described for us nicely and pop-punk-ily in Ready Steady Go by Generation X.

I was in love with The Beatles (ooooohh!)
I was in love with The Stones (no satisfaction!)
I was in love with Bobby Dylan
Because I'm in love with rock'n'roll

Very, very few people are 100% loyal to any single brand.

People who bought the Beatles also bought the Stones and bought Dylan.

A brand only gets big by attracting less committed buyers (although they may be heavy buyers of the category) to buy a bit more often.

Exclusive brand loyalty is largely a myth, and focussing effort on cultivating it is commercially unwise.

People who bought Generation X also bought the Pistols, the Clash and the Jam.

Unfortunately, in the UK, the Pistols and the Jam attracted more light buyers than Gen X did.
Presumably that's why Billy eventually bailed out and relaunched himself in a bigger market (the USA) with a bigger label and more reach and went on to be one of the biggest pop acts of the 80's.

And Tony launched Sigue Sigue Sputnik as a mass media spectacle, creating huge mental availability before any physical product was available to buy, which subsequently led to massive rapid growth.

Indeed Gen X probably suffered under the law of 'Double Jeopardy'.

The Jam, for example, were rewarded twice: they not only had more buyers, but these buyers also boughty more often (thus with greater loyalty). Whereas a smaller brand like Gen X were sadly punished twice: they had fewer buyers who bought less often.

Yes, it's true that bigger brands do receive slightly more loyalty than smaller brands.
But the big difference is not about how loyal their customers are, but simply that they have so many more of them.

The Clash would have been much bigger than they were if they had gone on Top of The Pops and reached a larger audience beyond simply the hardcore of Clash fans. In walked U2 a couple of years later and stole their chops and thunder.

Indeed the rejection of Top of The Pops by the Clash could be interpreted as something of a 'sunk cost fallacy', there is something of a dissonance at play as their decision to tour as support for the Who (mass audience, light buyers, Shea Stadium etc) helped them the huge selling Combat Rock album in '82, just before the band imploded.

To a large degree success begets success. It's driven by the ability to scale.

Moreover, brands share their customers with other brands in the category and usually in line with their market share.
It's no surprise that Billy was in love with the Beatles, the Sones and Dylan. The three biggest and most popular rock'n'roll acts of the 60's.

So while people do have loyalties to a degree, they are promiscuous.
People are pretty happy to buy from a number of brands in a category.

It doesn't mean they like you less, but it's a mistake to expect devotion from anything but a very few.

Sure, the few need to be looked after but if you have the chance, ask the world to dance.

Or you'll be dancing with yourself.

blog comments powered by Disqus