All posts tagged Product Marketing

Why Marketers Should Attribute Statistical Claims

If you’re wondering whether marketers should attribute their statistical claims, you probably take random “four out of five doctors” statements at face value……..or you author them.

Is the Moon Really Made of Cheese?

Either way, the reason is credibility with your target audience. If you want to claim the moon is made of cheese, back it up with someone from NASA and someone else from the Wisconsin Cheese Board. If you can get support from both sources, you will be on your way to convincing a lot of people of the fact. A corroborating quotation from British Physicist Steven Hawking would also help.

Marketing claims-especially statistics-without attribution, corroboration or validation aren’t worth much. (I, of course, don’t have any evidence to make this claim, but trust me. OK).

True, you can do fantastically well in the short term by making stuff up. Reebox and Skechers have sold hundreds of millions of dollars selling tone-your-butt shoes, with erroneous claims later determined by the FTC to have been false and misleading. I prefer integrating a bit more honesty in the marketing work I do. (If I didn’t bear this moral hair shirt, I would have long ago sought a massively compensated communications gig with a tobacco company).

So I find a claim by a crowd-funded company called Morpher a little hard to swallow. It’s probably innocuous to most, but to this cyclist, it stood out.

<Editorial note for credibility’s sake: I ride a fair bit – bike commuting, early-morning training rides, and weekend sojourns to dessert shops. Part of my attire is a ubiquitous bike helmet. I have no problem wearing one because I crashed in 2002 and hit my head on a sidewalk. But for a blue Bell hardshell and I would have likely fractured my skull.>

Morpher and Marketing Claims

Morpher thinks it has a solution to putting more helmets on urban riders’ heads; sell a foldable helmet. I don’t buy the solution; non-foldable helmets seem to do a fine job in protecting heads, to the extent that a helmet will protect you if you hit the ground, or a bus hits you.

To support its “The Helmet for People Who Won’t Wear Current Bike Helmets” proposition, Morpher makes three statistical claims about wearing or not wearing helmets. None are attributed in any way. The one I found completely unbelievable is the assertion that “83% of bike scheme riders don’t wear a helmet due to lack of portability.”

Unattributed Marketing Claims from Morpher

Prove It

I just don’t believe it. Maybe this is true, but there is nothing to back up this statement. Show me the source. A bike helmet weighs less than a pound. I’ve worked in a lot of buildings where people commuted by bike, and nobody seem to be bothered by having to lock their helmet to their bike or carry their bike helmet to their desk.

I’m highly skeptical of the claim, and thus, skeptical of this company. Maybe I’m just in a tiny minority but I want the origin of this statement. As a prospective customer (well, not really, but you get the idea), the company needs to convince me. Instead, they seem to be stretching credulity beyond the breaking point.

Is it really that hard to understand why marketers should attribute statistical claims?

Bad Product Marketing from Glimmer Gear a good example of bad product marketing

Bad product marketing includes failing to answer the customer’s most important question. I give you Glimmer Gear.

I’m a runner. And a cyclist. I probably own a dozen bicycle lights, and even built my own megawatt strobe tail-light. I own several bikes, lots of lycra, and buy 4-6 pairs of running shoes every year. Behavior like this gets you on’s Daily Deals email list. Last week, I flipped through Active’s latest Groupon-like email. An offer for something called LED arm sleeves caught my attention. That’s cool. Maybe useful for both running and riding? Will make it safer at night.

Bad product marketing example:

Copy and paste Glimmer Gear into Google. I’m now at, the home of “LED sports apparel.” It’s unimpressive. Circa 2004 look and feel. Left nav bar with randomly ordered tabs. Nothing that can’t be overlooked because the product seems to promise more safety. And yet…..there’s no product to see.

True, there’s a splash screen of four jpegs. I can see that the sleeves have illuminated dots on them but how well do they work? That’s a question ideally answered by a video. Can you find a video on the website below?

Bad product marketing example: a good example of bad product marketing

Product Marketing Must Answer Your Prospect’s Most Important Questions
The most important question from a cyclist or runner considering a safety product is, “Will it make riding or running safer?” There are other questions about price, battery life, availability and durability, but “yes to more safety?” tops the list by a mile. Glimmer Gear doesn’t answer it at all.

The company could answer it pretty convincingly using a video. Just 90 seconds would be enough. Probably even 60 seconds would do it.

Video Should Be in Every Product Marketer’s Toolbox
You would think this would be pretty obvious now, wouldn’t you? After all, October 30, 2013 is the 7th anniversary of the launch of the Will It Blend? marketing campaign. The series of infomercials demonstrating the Blendtec line of blenders remains one of the most successful and highly publicized online marketing campaigns.

We’re not talking a Glimmer Gear campaign, though; just a simple clip that shows me how the sleeves work at night, their visibility from afar, and how well they work in both urban and rural situations. Their testimonials don’t help, either, as almost all of them are Facebook opinions on the product idea, (“It looks cool. It caught my eye”) rather than the execution. Plus, the sleeves are somewhat pricey at $75 so I want to see them in action before ordering.

Bad Product Marketing Forgets the Consumer
Whoever is doing Glimmer’s product marketing really needs to look at their products through the eyes of the prospect. Grab a video camera, a couple of riders, go out at night, and show the riding and running communities how it will make their nighttime workouts and commutes safer. Answer our most important question. That’s all.

Then replace that above-the-fold .jpeg combination with the video. You’ll make believers out of many, and customers out of some. Remember, don’t miss opportunities to use video to showcase your product. Glimmer Gear has, and it’s losing a lot of sales as a result.