Anit-Marketing Advice from Smirnoff Ice: Don't be like "Sergio"

June 18, 2021
Quick summary. Don't be like the bozos from this old commercial. Create a hyper-specific profile of your target customer and focus on generating tremendous value for them rather than wasting time on appearances and gimmicks. There was a popular Smirnoff Ice commercial (at least as popular as a malt beverage commercial can be) from the 90's that can teach us a valuable lesson about marketing. In this commercial, two smarmy guys overhear a popular gentleman in the VIP section telling a story about his friend "Sergio". These two guys want to party with this richer, more popular person so they pretend to have a mutual friend in "Sergio". In order to convince the guy in VIP that they are friends of Sergio (when in fact they are not) they describe Sergio in opaque terms. They offer general, and often contradictory descriptions of Sergio: "lightish-darkish hair" and "short to tall in height". As a result of their subterfuge, they are able to join this richer guy and party with him. While this may appear to simply be a silly commercial, it offers a valuable lesson to those of us in e-commerce. Unlike in this commercial, in the real world you need to market your product or service to a specific audience. If you have only a vague idea of your target customer, you will lose. Unlike the guy in the VIP, your customers won't make purchases based on general features of your business. You need to get specific. Customers buy solutions for their reasons, not for yours. You need to describe your solution in their terms. This means you should be meeting with your potential customers regularly. Pro tip: don't ask their opinion, just ask them to buy. Further, and this should go without saying, you should never attempt any sort of subterfuge. Too often e-commerce businesses focus on appearance rather than customer value. They are more concerned with looking like a larger, more established company than on following the steps that enable companies to grow. Namely, providing outstanding value to their customers. Lessons learned from a bad commericial: - Be ruthless in describing your target customer - Focus your energy on serving this customer - If whatever you are doing is not bringing your customer value, stop doing it If you're interested in starting or growing your e-commerce business, come talk to folks who know how to set up the technical