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Marketing Lessons From A Bus Ride

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Educated people just love to think they are wiser than the less educated folks—which is a shame. I sure used to think the same way.
Take marketing for example. There are some key marketing concepts drilled into every marketing professional. Things like the Four Ps, Segmentation, Targeting etc. There are tomes of books written on these subjects.
Well, last week I encountered a brilliant marketer. Guess where? You guessed right, in a bus. Marketing Lessons From A Bus Ride

For the first time in fifteen years, I found myself inside a Lagos Molue (those rickety commuter buses). We had barely left the bus-stop when a well-dressed man (by molue standard) stood up, held up a bible and started singing popular Christian songs. A few minutes later, he started praying for the passengers. The whole bus became quiet, and the only sound was the man’s shrill voice and the booming chorus of amen by the passengers.
Thus, gaining the rapt attention of the passenger this way, the man commenced his real business. In a mixture of barely literate English and pidgin, he started by denouncing the avarice and insensitivity of our government in general. He then zeroed-in (with righteous indignation) on the health sector. He lamented how the cost of healthcare has gone beyond the reach of the common man………….finally, he brought out a sachet of some Chinese herbal medicine which he claimed could prevent all kinds of diseases. He extolled the virtues and efficacy of Chinese traditional medicine in general and his product in particular……..
The result? Over 50 percent of the passengers in that bus bought something from the man!

What is the marketing lesson?

Target effectively: One of the main causes of marketing failure is the failure to identify the right target for our offering. The first thing the man in the Molue did right was to understand that only the people in the lower echelon of the society will patronize his kind of product. Had he marketed the same product to a more sophisticated audience, he would have been a resounding failure.
Spend time to target the right prospect. Prospects that need your product; can afford your product; and most importantly, prospects that will see you and your offering as credible.
Appeal to emotion: identifying rightly that Nigerians (especially the poor ones) are a religious lot, our man started his pitch with a religious “service”. The result is that he gained the undivided attention of his audience. He built the emotional connection further by using we-against-them tactics (they being the government and we being he and his audience).
Establish an emotional connection with your prospect before you try to sell him.
Media: you must identify the best medium to communicate with your target. Who enters Molue? The struggling masses of course.

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