12 September 2007

The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game: Rasika Fernandes, JWT Planning, Delhi

Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Dr. Seuss, Oh The Place’s You’ll Go

Waiting. It’s something we hate to do but can’t evade.

But, from a marketer’s perspective, those precious seconds of doing nothing, of staring into oblivion, offers us a priceless opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with the reason for our being - Our Consumer.

That’s where the concept of Wait Marketing, propagated by Professor Diana Derval comes in.
Wait Marketing is about avoiding the need to be intrusive and bothering people when they are busy or enjoying themselves and communicating with them only and only when they are available and open to having a conversation with you.

It’s about finding a good place and time to communicate with people who might be receptive to what you have to say, because they have nothing better to do! That place and time is the moment of ‘waiting’. Waiting in a queue, waiting for your movie to begin, waiting in the doctor’s room, waiting for your bus, waiting when you’re downloading from the Internet…

Wait Marketing is people friendly and more effective because instead of being an intrusion in people’s lives, we try and find ways to enhance the dull moment of waiting by connecting with people in interesting, un-expected ways about things that interest them.

Studies published by independent advertising organisations, in Europe and in the US, confirm that consumers are at least 2 times more receptive while they are waiting. This is linked to the fact that advertising is in that particular context welcome. A TV ad, for instance, will be memorised by 17% of the consumers if they watch it on their TV screen at home. The same ad will be remembered by 27% of consumers if they see it while they are in the doctor’s waiting room.

A great example of Wait Marketing is that of MSNBC.com who launched a movie theater version of their web based game, called NewsBreaker where MSNBC.com headlines float to the bottom of the theatre screen and when players hit 25 of the headlines with their paddle, they gain another life.

In the theater version, instead of a single player moving a paddle left and right with a keyboard, the entire audience controlled the paddle together, moving it around by waving their arms.
A motion-sensitive camera in the front of the theater measured how the audience was moving its arms. The camera then translated that collective motion to an onscreen paddle that players used to bounce a ball back up to the top of the screen to knock out blocks. In effect, the audience became the joystick!

The game was being run in place of the advertisements that usually play before film previews and was received with much enthusiasm because it meaningfully engaged an otherwise waiting audience.
Your audience is waiting to be wooed! What are you waiting for?

For more information and examples on wait marketing visit

P.S. On the flip side,surely there is a brand promise in this itself: “you don’t have to wait”.Here’s Seinfeld again, frustrated at a restaurant, waiting for a table.

Purchase Pathways

It’s the treasure trail that every marketer is obsessed with.The purchasing behavior/pathway of consumers – known as the Buying System at JWT - is as unique as it is common.

Each category has it’s own path. From the display window to the shopping bag, there are as many paths as there are consumers.

In an attempt to put these paths into perspective, some directions have come out of a recent study conducted by Yahoo & OMD, titled “Long and Winding Road: The Route to the Cash Register”. Different purchase pathways of different categories as well as different kinds of people: http://www.scottweisbrod.com/index.php/?p=301

Different kinds of purchase pathways
· QUICK: This path involves little consideration. Consumer packaged goods are often quick paths.
· WINDING: Comparison-shopping between different channels, including online and offline retailers, typifies this path. Retail goods are often winding paths.
· LONG: This path involves researching various options over an extended period of time. Technology purchases are often long paths, particularly if the price tag is high.
· LONG AND WINDING: This path requires investing a considerable amount of time researching across several channels. Many big-ticket items — including automobiles and financial services — follow a long and winding path. These paths offer marketers the most opportunity to impact and possibly sway a purchase decision in their favor, because consumers of these products are the hungriest for information.

You can see the full report, The Long and Winding Road: the route to the cash register research here.http://www.scottweisbrod.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/Long_Winding_Road_v10.pdf

A related comment: the traditional marketing funnel is dead, measuring reach and frequency vs measuring engagement. http://www.scottweisbrod.com/index.php/?p=293

The Prepared Mind

In continuation of our series, The Prepared Mind.

Two wonderful insights and two readymade ads. This time from FRIENDS.

1) Girls fantasize about their wedding dress long before they actually get married!

2) There are times in our lives when we bolt the door on a relationship, locking away our emotions– and sometimes we let them back in! What a wonderful way to look at locks.

If there are any FRIENDS fanatics out there, do write about your favourite scenes... anything that made you think "Hey, I must put that in an ad one day!".