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Marketing CSI: Means, Opportunity and Motive

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We all like a good crime series on TV. NCIS, Criminal Minds, CSI NY,… you name it: when it’s on, we’ll watch (except for CSI Miami that is – could one of these criminals please take out David Caruso next time?).

So we also know the 3 main elements needed to accuse someone, right?: Means, opportunity and motive. ‘Means’ refers to the practical ability of the defendant to commit the crime. ‘Opportunity’ looks into the set of circumstances needed to commit that crime. ‘Motive’ answers why the defendant would have done it. Answer all 3 questions and you’ve got yourself a solid accusation.

Now what does this have to do with marketing? Well just try this for a while: change ‘crime’ into ‘marketing action’ and ‘defendant’ into ‘consumer’, and you’ll get something like this: “‘Means’ refers to the practical ability of the consumer to take part in the marketing action. ‘Opportunity’ looks into the set of circumstances needed to enter the action. ‘Motive’ answers why the consumer would do it.” Or in other words: the key elements needed to make our marketing stick!

Let’s look at this in a little more detail.

Means

‘Means’ is what you create, the practical tools you provide the consumer with in order to interact with your marketing action. This could be a DM, a website, a mobile app, … Now any more or less decent criminal will take great care in selecting the crime weapon. No use in selecting a knife for a long-distance assassination. Or bringing an unloaded gun. The weapon should fit the job and be utterly reliable. As should your marketing assets. Ask yourself the question “Would I trust these tools if the stakes were really high?” Like ‘make-or-break’-high?

Opportunity

‘Opportunity’ can be split up into ‘place’ (“Could the defendant have been at the location of the crime?”) and ‘time’ (“Could the defendant have been there at that specific point in time?”). In marketing terms, ‘place’ is your marketing channel and ‘time’ is the timing of your marketing message. If you want consumers to take notice of your marketing efforts, you have to approach them using the right channels, at the right time. Anything else is waste. So select your channels carefully starting from your marketing objectives, by matching the different channel characteristics to your consumers’ profiles (did you know you can get a lot of consumer channel data out of web analytics and social media monitoring?). Once you can tie the defendant to the crime scene, make sure you can put him there at the right time. Take into account best practices on timing for sending out marketing messages via e-mail, on Facebook, on Twitter, …

Motive

Finally, ‘motive’ is the reason, the ‘why’: ‘Why would the defendant have committed the crime?” “Why would anyone involve in our marketing action?”. This is probably the hardest element to control, but also the most crucial. If you don’t give them a solid reason to care, they won’t. Of course this is about relevancy, about creating branded utilities and acting as a ‘brand butler’ to serve your customers. But it’s also about telling stories that trigger people, about standing out and being memorable.

So there you have it: make your marketing work by unleashing the detective in you. Search for true means, opportunity and motive and it will be a success. Guaranteed.

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