By Jonny Lupsha, Current Events Writer
A Worcester bar accepted Monopoly money on Thursday as part of a marketing campaign. Ralph’s Tavern accepted the board game tender in exchange for hot dogs and non-alcoholic jell-o-shots in hopes of securing a lot of land for a local special edition of the game. Marketing efforts need to recognize what customers value.
Comprehensive marketing plans include describing how a product or service is offered and its value to potential and existing customers. Photo by Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock
People often mistake marketing for being simply TV commercials or ads in the newspaper or on the internet. On the contrary, Ralph’s Tavern in Worcester, MA recently found out that Marketing is an exercise in what customers value.
On Thursday, the bar accepted Monopoly money for hot dogs and non-alcoholic jell-o-shots for two hours. This was done to attract attention and secure a plot of land on the board of a Worcester edition of the popular Monopoly game.
In the video series Critical Business Skills for Success, Dr. Ryan Hamilton, Associate Professor of Marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, defined marketing for what it really is.
More than a clever ad
“The biggest mistake people make when they think about marketing is to define it too narrowly – many companies view marketing as something that is done after a product is developed and simply needs to be sold,” said Dr. Hamilton.
“The job of marketing is to create added value for customers, not just communicating value that has already been created. Marketing does this by understanding who the customer is, what they value and how they can deliver that value better than the competition. “
Dr. Hamilton said he believed that the value of a product should only be determined from the point of view of the customers who want to buy it. Additionally, he said innovation and value are not born solely in laboratories, but must be brought together with a range of customers who value them.
Then those innovations and values must be explained to customers in a way that customers can understand, at a price customers are willing to pay, and sold in stores where customers are willing to buy.
In other words, if no one is buying the “Next Big Thing,” it doesn’t matter how well it was done. One such example was the Apple Newton in the 1980s, the first tablet computer. It was badly marketed and sales bottomed out. Motorola suffered the same fate with the Envoy in 1994. It wasn’t until Palm introduced the PalmPilot in 1996 and began targeting its customers that the market blew up.
Commit suicide in marketing—Or not?
Marketing can seem incredibly counter-intuitive at times. Ralph’s Tavern in Worcester knows that there is nowhere for them to spend Monopoly money or give their employees as paychecks. However, they added some social value to their bar – the ability to connect with others – by implying that people would be happy to buy food while using Monopoly money.
Also, because Monopoly money is so cheap, they offer the customer a monetary value. A piece of paper hot dog made out of a snap is easier to sell than asking for hard-earned paychecks.
Some hospitals have followed similar strategies in order to provide non-monetary value to people. “In a radical departure from decades of legal advice, some major hospital systems have moved from a policy of ‘do not admit anything that may be used against us later in court’ to a policy of openness and honesty with patients when mistakes are made. “Said Dr. Hamilton.
“This new postponement makes no sense when patients, the customers of the hospitals, are primarily looking for monetary value. By admitting a mistake to someone who can sue you for misconduct, you’re essentially handing over your checkbook and asking them if they’d like to borrow your pen too. “
However, hospitals hypothesized that malpractice claims are driven by psychological values - patients’ desire to feel respected, heard, and empowered. In a place like a hospital, where someone is particularly vulnerable, they will react badly when the hospital builds their defenses.
So what happened “When some hospitals adopted this new system to provide non-monetary, psychological value to patients by admitting mistakes, sincerely apologizing, and giving patients full information, something amazing happened: malpractice lawsuits actually went down.”
For some hospitals, admission of wrongdoing is really a card to get out of jail.