Compare the Market- Diverse Marketing

VCCP, the marketing agency behind Compare the Market‘s hugely successful meerkat marketing campaign, knows modern brands are built through using various promotional channels. Lord Bell – Chairman of Chime Communications, VCCP’s parent company – said in The Times: “The ability to deliver one hit wonders has gone… You need to go through a wide variety of channels”. Everyone is familiar with the above-the-line T.V promotions, but what other channels have been used to create a famous Russian meerkat persona called Aleksandr Orlov, who has increased brand awareness from 20% to 59%?

Compare the Market’s £15 million annual marketing budget was outsourced to VCCP, who launched a gimmick website comparethemeerkat.com to satire the confusion over brand recognition of the numerous price comparison websites – a drawback of operating in a monopolisitically competitive market. Although T.V advertisements promoted the websites, Compare the Market gained their competitive advantage through extending their promotional mix even further.

The use of social media and online downloads, for instance, shows the benefits of using a diverse approach to marketing, albeit the return on investment is nearly impossible to measure; but it is the qualitative benefits that is the essence of creative marketing. At the time of writing Aleksandr Orlov has 758,613 fans on Facebook, 1,485,287 views on Youtube, and 40,091 followers on Twitter – these are people who have voluntarily chosen to be subjected to marketing – which fits into Seth Godin’s ‘Permission Marketing’ theory. Hence, the best marketing involves customers consent, and therefore trust is built: customer relationship marketing in turn creates brand loyalty that encourages Compare the Market users to try out new features, which makes diversification easier.

Moreover, merchandising of the Aleksandr Orlov has been astonishingly successful. 5000 limited edition toy models of the meerkat were sold exclusively at Harrods, who themselves have developed a premium reputation: a paradoxical, but effective, use of distribution channels meant that all toys were quickly sold out. Now on ebay, the asking price for one of the official toys is often more than double the £19.95 RRP. Additionally, visitors to the parody Compare the Meerkat website can download ringtones, voicemail messages and desktop wallpaper backgrounds and even watch Aleksandr Orlov in several ‘films’.

So although the meerkat’s catch-phrase ‘simples’ is representative of Compare the Market‘s ethos and website, it could not be more of an antithesis of its marketing strategy.

© Joshua Blatchford author of Manifested Marketing 13/08/2010

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  1. Hi! Excellent web blog, thanks for sharing the info! one for my bookmarks.

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