IIMS 94 contents
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The key to marketing is creating consumer awareness and the desire to purchase

Ken Chapman
Multimedia Marketing Consultant, NSW

The message here is very simple and those lyrics made famous by Irish rock band U2 are very straight forward and extremely significant in today's cluttered marketplace. To some, marketing is a science. However, too often in the race to be successful, some of the key basics are either discarded or forgotten.

I would like you to consider and evaluate your own key points, whatever your position is within the industry. Clarify your objectives and starting points. My points are:

  1. de-mystification
  2. the consumer
When attempting to successfully launch new products and new ideas the key issue is being able to get into the consumers' minds, and hopefully, their pockets. How do we do this? To start with lets take what I call the 'de-mystification' factor. Exactly what is interactive multimedia to the consumer?

In preparation for this conference I had the need to discuss a related business issue with a colleague who asked why I needed this information. 1 told him I was delivering a paper to a multimedia conference. To which he replied "Yes, I've heard a lot lately about hyperactive multimedia". Not a real crazy interpretation when one considers it.

To all the attendees here I am sure the interactive multimedia and what it means is patently clear, but what about the consumer? The future growth of this industry is predicated upon a successful program of enlightenment so that consumers know, understand, and desire to purchase what you are desperately trying to sell them. Let's turn the prospective IMU (Interactive Multimedia User) into the EMU (Enlightened Multimedia User).

Maybe a simple approach based on the theme music of one of Australia's most successful "off the peg" women's clothing stores could serve us well. This goes with this goes with that at Sussan's. Who knows, Sussan may well come up with a range of multimedia user friendly affordable clothing. What about Norm? Most of us here would appreciate the cartoon characterisation of Norm, the stereotype Australian male couch potato. A program that highlighted the fact that whilst he will not change his non-physical attributes at least IM will make his brain active.

It is my belief that in order for IM to grow significantly, product reviews must move out of the computer/technology pages and into the entertainment section. It is important to clarify the position here. Business to business product can be targeted with the precision afforded to using a telescopic sight. The mass market for infotainment is more akin to using the shotgun approach. You know where your target lies but there are no guarantees of a 100% accuracy rate.

The parallels that can he drawn with the video market are too numerous to list here but what we need to do is learn from that experience. In the space of seven years, 1980-87, we grew an industry from zero to A$1billion. That figure includes all stages of the industry. It was an exciting time and the IM business can achieve this as well. The market grew upon itself. You may be surprised to know that almost no research was undertaken during that period and even very little over the next five years. Basically the high cost of research amortised over the volume of units sold, eroded royalties to the extent the studios found unacceptable. Marketing dollars were streamed into high impact consumer advertising and promotion. For the last five years the video industry has been in a plateau phase with some markets in serious decline. Money is now being fed in to research but I feel it is too late to be any serious assistance.

To achieve a comparable rate of spectacular growth the industry needs research and a collection point for relevant market performance data to be assembled so all the players have an informed data base upon which to made the right marketing decisions.

Marketing is expensive as I am sure you all realise. The establishment of image and profile in the first instance still has to take into account ultimately as per unit cost, a fact that is all too often disregarded. If the industry is to approach the IM market with a degree of entertainment styled philosophy then the creative element must embody the "How and where do we sell this product as part of the team strategy?"

Detailed market selection is a crucial issue. I would suggest that it always be global, in the first instance. My experience in the film industry has taught me many lessons in global marketing and there are many surprises in store for those that do not take this into account.

If we assume. at this stage that the pricing elements of the marketing mix are in place the next essential element is distribution and the effects of pricing and margin. I am sure most of you recall the early days of video, buy a VCR and have access to a free library of up to 300 titles. There were no specialist stores and the product was of absolutely no interest to the mass merchants. This was 'bundling' to the highest degree. It certainly shifted a lot of machines but the software producers didn't make much money. This was soon followed by the 'club' system. Pay $100 up front, for access to a library for 6 months. Dealers made more money than they had only ever dreamt of, but again the distributors were not sharing in this variable gold mine.

We, the industry, encouraged the separation of hardware and software and in a very short time the specialist stores sprang up and we were up and away on a great revenue growth stream. However, in order to sustain this growth the industry had to spend, and I might add, continues to do so, on marketing to the dealer, as well as the consumer, therefore limiting the amount available to the consumer end.

This experience must be taken seriously by IM industry because it is important to be cognisant of the future from the very early days. Let me return your thoughts to my opening and the U2 tune I still haven 't found what I'm looking for. To coin a local advertising phrase, "Where do you get it?" Whilst the industry cannot ultimately dictate the sources it can certainly influence the logistical spread. What are the choices?

  1. Hardware outlets
  2. Specialist stores
  3. Mass merchants/Department stores
  4. Direct marketing/Mail order
  5. Future EHOS (Electronic Home Order System).
Each one of these distribution points have inherent positives and negatives and need to be evaluated on the basis of short/medium/long term viability when considering net revenue returns. As an example, is the trade off in margins from mass merchants worth the related volume. It would appear that in order to achieve the required growth and spread all distribution points would be attractive, hopefully with some control. Mass merchants will only do justice to the 'hit' programs. They do not entertain stocking catalogue and in a growth industry expansion of the catalogue is where the long term viability lies. Giving the consumer maximum choice.

Pricing within the marketing mix is vital. Never give the product away. The discount game can have a disastrous effect and destroy the very fabric of your future. The channels of marketing exploitation are many and varied and become a logical progression as the installed base grows and reducing price points can be precisely targeted alongside new and exciting promotions.

This brings me to the last major point in my presentation. In a market as small as the domestic Australian market, I am continually surprised at the lack of creative strategic alliances utilised today. Successful co-promotions with strong identifiable partners can be very rewarding. With the very high cost of P&A today doesn't it make sense to seek a wider participation for either the same or a reduced dollar value.

It can be done. The competition for the elusive discretionary dollar becomes more intense daily. Only by creative development of new marketing strategies will the innovative ideas surface. IM software content has very few limitations in scope. The marketing of this new product will put all the marketers under considerable pressure to perform. The results should be exciting to watch.

Please cite as: Chapman, K. (1994). The key to marketing is creating consumer awareness and the desire to purchase. In C. McBeath and R. Atkinson (Eds), Proceedings of the Second International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 81-82. Perth, Western Australia, 23-28 January. Promaco Conventions. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/bc/chapman.html

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