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Marketing Lessons From America’s Favorite Sponge

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“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”-Peter Druker

In today’s twenty first century we are as bombarded with advertisements as boy bands are bombarded with marriage proposals. We see posts on every form of social media to buy the new latest phenom that even the phrase, “Hi Billy Mayes here” fails to make our heads turn. The question is then, how do marketers and advertisers succeed in reaching their demographic in a society in which attention is a commodity? The answer lies in the 4 P’s of marketing- Product, Place, Promotion, and Price.

First comes product- the actual tangible item, or intangible service you are trying to sell. In order to be a relevant product you must have a good understanding of your place within the market and competition you will be facing. An important factor that comes with this is your uniqueness. What makes your product better than everything else currently in the market? This is a question that Aaron Krause answered on the hit ABC television show Shark Tank. His product- a glorified sponge that gets soft in warm water and firm in cold water-called Scrub Daddy. Who would have ever thought that you could make a profit off of the sponge market- but now 3 years later- Aaron Krause and his Scrub Daddy is the most successful business ever to have come from Shark Tank with over 50 million in sales. Why, because he understood the need for his product.

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Next comes place and promotion. Not only is it important to understand why your product is valuable and what makes it unique, but you must also be able to identify its place within the market, who your target audience is, and how you are going to reach your target audience. This is the particular challenge advertisers and marketers face every day. Sticking with our Scrub Daddy example, Aaron Krause identified that his market were people who do their dishes by hand and are fed up with the average household sponge. This demographic includes mostly women, probably with families who have lots of dishes, and probably low income families at that who can’t afford a dishwasher. Therefore the Scrub Daddy has to be appealing and generally marketed to the average housewife, well how do you reach her? She watches daytime television, shops at discount stores, and loves a good bargain. Based on these conclusions the Scrub Daddy is sold in all of the major conglomerate stores, (Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, Walmart, Staples) as well as online and on television through QVC. Scrub Daddy has a social media presence on Twitter as well as Facebook, however, I think it’s important to note that they have less than 2,000 followers on Twitter and over 21,000 likes on Facebook. This makes sense given their demographic, the average housewife, is much more likely to be an avid Facebook user over Twitter. The advertisers of Scrub Daddy clearly realize this and put much more effort into their online and TV presence than their social media presence.

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Lastly in marketing your product it is important to understand price. Price is important not only in calculating the cost to manufacture your product, but also how much your product is worth versus what the average consumer will pay for it. In Scrub Daddy’s case, it has to be cheap enough to compete with the average sponge, but costly enough to prove it has value and is worth investing in. According to Staples website the cost of a 3-pack of Scotch-Brite no scratch sponges is $4.99. A 3 pack of no scratch Scrub Daddy’s however, is valued at double that for $9.99. So what does this mean? It means that the Scrub Daddy is successfully competing in a market at nearly double the price, which proves it is also successfully advertising it’s uniqueness over the average sponge and garnering the attention it deserves in the average housewife market.

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So what have we learned here? Ultimately the way to get the attention you seek is to have faith in your product and understand its purpose, research your target audience thoroughly, and sell your product at a competitive price. If you do all of the above correctly then hopefully you too will have learned a lesson from America’s favorite sponge, and will successfully reach your target demographic.

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