A creative marketing agency.

Catastrophe Marketing

In an effort to constantly build my marketing muscles, I try to often go through a set of mental calisthenics. I think about how I would market a particular product or service, and what campaign I would recommend if it were solely my responsibility to craft the strategy.

Many times when going through a discovery with a client to learn about their business we begin the initial dialogue with the client by asking: Who do you want to buy your product or use your service? A very common answer is: “Well, everyone”. Often people forget that in most cases, there is a very targeted customer segment that has the highest propensity to buy. This is the case more often than not.

There is a product that was created that however I wrapped my head around, could not think of a market above the age of 16 that wouldn’t benefit from it. This product was called a Lifehammer- a device attached to a keychain that would allow you to cut your seat belt, break a car window, and escape in a catastrophic event.

Let me introduce you to my next point, Catastrophe Marketing™ is a marketing and advertising strategy that takes an aggressive tactic to play on the top of mind awareness in near real time events. Go back to the Lifehammer- (this is just an example, to my knowledge this company has not done this). A company would use a listening tool that scraped various news feeds for vehicles submerged and occupants trapped, people in accidents that couldn’t break through their windshield, or the case of seat belts pinning people (you get the idea) and have a near immediate advertisement about the Lifehammer product. This is an extreme example but you see its potential in multiple verticals: energy, human rights, and tons of others entering into this arena every day.

For example, as soon as the magnitude of the current oil spill became a household concern, many companies which create alternative energy solutions, environmental protection services, or other green programs ramped up their marketing and advertising efforts. Another example is when a pathogen outbreak or nasty virus hits a school and the local community gets some exposure, hand sanitizer companies should push their products heavily.

A very careful strategy has to be implemented when dealing with potential sensitive and catastrophic issues especially when there has been a loss of life. I have heard comedians joke about an issue (Sept. 11 for example) and be heckled “too soon” and turn the crowd completely against him. The same can be done with a company that deals in catastrophe marketing, but in disaster capitalism the ROI is usually measured in profit margin over public sentiment.

You are going to see more catastrophe and agenda based companies emerge and use social media platforms, traditional real time advertising, and contextual advertising to gain an emotional response purchaser.

About the author

David Brim


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