Sneaky Marketing and the concept of Worldspace…

In one of my pre-Monkey roles, Hasbro Toys was  a major client.   One of their Senior VP ‘s, and a personal friend, left to start his own business building properties for children’s entertainment (TV shows, toys etc). 

Over a period of months Kevin and I talked at length about his business model.  One of the concepts that dropped out of the discussions was the concept of Worldspace.  It related heavily to things Kevin had done before, so I’m giving him credit for the core idea.

How it applies to marketing is particularly interesting, so let me dig in and explain.

The actual real world that each of us experiences is pretty unique and it’s based on many factors such as our experiences, likes and dislikes.

For example, thrifty family guys like myself spend entirely too much time in Home Depot.  Your typical teenage girl wouldn’t be caught dead there.  I’m not a coffee drinker, so Starbucks doesn’t really exist for me.  I do like a good Chocolate Croissant,  so the excellent La Farm is part of my world.  I would guess anyone on a gluten-free diet has never entered the place.  The cool kids don’t go to Walmart, but they do shop at Threadless

So as I said, the real world is a little bit different for each of us.  There are actual physical places that some of us go to regularly that effectively do not exist for other individuals.

Fair enough?  But how does that relate to Marketing?

Well, as smarter folks than me like to point out, marketing is a messy business these days.  Everywhere you go, there’s a ton of noise.  You can’t start a real conversation with someone when everyone else is trying to start one too.

One strategy that can help is to try and avoid the noise by targeting your customer in places where they aren’t being bombarded by other competing messages.

And the best way to do that is look at your target’s worldspace and pop up in places where your competition aren’t talking to them.

Some examples:

Starbucks has been very successful at selling CD’s alongside their coffee.  Turns out that there’s good overlap between Starbucks customers and certain music artists.  Would those customers have bought the CD if they had seen it in a music store?  Probably not.  But at Starbucks, there was nothing else competing for their musical attention, and so the CDs had a much better chance of being noticed.

An old school technique to improve direct mail results (you know, putting things in envelopes and sending them to people) is to use Priority Mail or FedEx shipping.  Your competition, if they were sending out direct mail, would probably use a plain old stamp.  Your competition disappears into a sea of junk mail.  But your communication would stand out because even the busiest executive only receives a limited number of express packages. 

One of the premium car brands (I forget which one — lets say it was Lexus) was cutting deals with exclusive luxury hotels.  Guests staying in the top suites would be given a top of the line Lexus as a complementary rental car for the duration of their stay.  You can bet that made a lasting impression, and the target audience was reasonably pre-screened by virtue of the price of the hotel. 

So don’t follow the crowd and just yell louder than anyone else.  Look at your target’s worldspace and try and find a quieter corner of their lives where you can start a real conversation…

4 comments for “Sneaky Marketing and the concept of Worldspace…

  1. August 24, 2007 at 8:00 am

    Great post – very insightful.

    For the chocolate croissant lover who complains about food in the Triangle, you should really check out Guglhupf’s.

  2. August 25, 2007 at 1:23 pm


    Also, try serenity. Make your ad campaign a resting place in the clutter. Of course, disruptorMonkey and serenity… may not be a perfect fit.

  3. DisMonkey
    September 4, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Dugald: I did the Guglhupf. I have some childhood scars from Germanic lieb-kuchen (sp?), but this turned out pretty well. IMO, La Farm is slightly ahead, even if only because of the fantastic vintage Citroen the owner drives…

  4. December 8, 2007 at 4:18 am

    [Stupid Blog Spammer Post Deleted]

    I’m not in the habit of censoring comments on this blog, but this post was by some idiot at a company called “w o r l d s p a c e” at “http://www.v s w o r l” and I’d just like to make the point that this company is (a) stupid, (b) a spammer and (c) deserving of your scorn.

    And now back to our regular scheduled programming…

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