Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Would a blind person select your perfume?

Perfume marketers go to great lengths with their packaging, to make their fragrances enticing. Sophisticated buyers admit that sometimes they buy a perfume for its packaging rather than its scent. I've done this myself -- more than once. But suppose you were selling to a blind person who couldn't see your packaging? Suppose this person had only their nose to go on. Now all that would matter would be the perfume itself. Would your perfume measure up?

Generally the idea for a new perfume comes well before the scent. It would be rare today for someone to wake up in the morning with a very specific scent in mind, rush to their desk, write down the formula, produce and bottle it and then give it to the advertising people saying "go sell this." More commonly a marketing platform would be developed, then graphics commissioned for that platform and only then would the project be handed out to several perfumers to see who could come up with what. The marketer knows that a great scent will greatly enhance sales but it will be the packaging, advertising, and promotion that will get the sales rolling. Never will it be about the scent itself though that will be the pretense. In reality the scent is an afterthought.

But what happens when a blind person smells this new perfume? It is said that blind people have no greater sense of smell than the average person with sight. But, lacking sight and being free of distractions from packaging and promotion, the blind person is likely to be more aware of the scent itself. How might your fragrance be rated?

Amateur perfume makers typically start by making a fragrance and then asking the question, "how can I sell it?" If you're out to make money this isn't the smartest approach. But, if you are more interested in the aroma than the packaging, this approach can help you hone your skills and your ability to produce fragrances that could, some day, gain serious recognition -- and approval -- from both blind people and many others. After all, isn't it scent that, thousands of years ago, created the perfume industry?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Why bother with perfume? (Hint: you can't get away from it!)

If you have a half-way sensitive nose you smell smells everywhere and some stand out as beautiful and others as stinky. Odor can move you and that's the story of perfume. It's not how it's made; it's not the cost or the markup. It's the moment you smell something and react. Your reaction wasn't intentional. It was something forced on you by the smell. My dog has an "accident." I don't see the dog; I don't see the "accident." But that odor immediately tells me what has happened. It communicates. When I'm in a supermarket and suddenly smell a fine fragrance, I can't tell where the scent has come from. I see no women in my aisle. Yet I know a woman has passed through and left a scent and I'm left wondering: Who is she? What does she look like? How might she look at me? Likely these questions will remain unanswered but that scent has left a memory. Scent instantly transforms an environment. In the supermarket aisle, among all sorts of food smells -- fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, coffee of various flavors and grinds, the oh, so light aroma of a fine fragrance can stand out. Odor is a powerful tool for communication. You can't see it coming. You can't see it at all. But suddenly you're enveloped in it. You can't say what direction it came from. You can't say where the person who was wearing it has gone. But it's there and it has your attention and you can't run from it. It's there -- and, if its a smell that can get a reaction out of you, it's going to do that whether you like it or not. With a visual image you can turn away if for whatever reason you don't like it. But a smell is just "upon you." Making perfume is (mostly) about making good smells, smells that will give pleasure when detected. But it involves a lot more than mixing aroma materials together until they smell nice. "Nice" can be boring and a great many of the materials used to make perfume smell "nice" by themselves -- which can make you wonder why, in the creation of a perfume, the "nice" smells are mixed with materials that may not smell so nice! (And that, really, is part of how fine fragrances are made.) If you want to be involved with/in perfume, you want to recognize what it does. It can identify a woman more quickly than a tattoo. It can make an instant statement about elegance -- or seduction. It can leave a trail behind after a woman has left the room. It can get attention leaving no ability to push back. But, as a maker of perfume, how do you control the message it communicates? Herein lies much of the art of perfumery. The best in the business can tailor their message -- their fragrance == so that it coordinates with a marketing theme and supports, through its aroma, the pictures in the magazines and the images on TV. The best creators of perfume are the ones who can direct your fantasies in the direction they have chosen. It's not easy and few can succeed at it regularly. A perfume can be an art form or it can be a mess. But once the scent is out there it will communicate, for better or for worse!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Advertising results can guide marketing strategy -- if you're willing to read them honestly

    Only by advertising can you get "advertising results" -- and only by having "advertising results" can you guide your project to success.

    I've been doing some advertising. It involved a financial commitment. You might think this is a questionable time to spend money on advertising -- national events are grabbing people's focus -- but the results I'm getting NOW are showing me where I must tune up my presentation to get better results -- and there's no reason why I can't get better results.

    I'm spending money to advertise two related books -- Creating your own perfume from dropper bottles: Methods, mechanics, and mathematics and Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!. Most of my advertising dollars are going to Google, to advertise the books which are sold on Amazon. Let me explain how my test campaign has evolved.

    I ran some advertising on Amazon. Advertising directly on Amazon had two drawbacks. First, because I have an Amazon Associates account, I can get a commission on sales. The commission doesn't just cover sales of the product I've advertised, it also covers others purchases from traffic I've sent to Amazon. But with Amazon's advertising program I can't use my Associates I.D., so I can't get these small but welcome commissions.

    The second drawback is that Amazon Advertising gives me only two choices: I can advertise a SPECIFIC title of my own or I can advertise ALL of my titles. This second option means my advertising money is split between multiple products -- some of which don't sell well -- instead of being focused on titles that do sell well, titles I want to promote.

    So on Amazon I have to select the title I want to promote. Then there's another problem. I'm severely limited in the length of my ad. I'm not allowed to write enough to explain the book. And finally, there's censorship that limits what you can say. Don't suggest your product will help people make money or that an investment is required to carry out the program. Can anyone make perfume without putting some money into it? Amazon wants you to advertise but to keep your advertising bland. Bland doesn't sell.

    So I've turned my focus to Google, Google Ads (once called Google AdWords). Here I am still very much in the "learning" phase but I'll share some of what I've learned. (If you want to know even more about Google Advertising, check out these books.)

    First of all you have to have a goal. In my case it has been to sell specific books. But I offer the books both as instant pdf downloads from my own website and as soft cover books from Amazon. The ads I've run have been for traffic, visitors to a landing page, but I had to make a decision. Should my landing page promote the download from my own site or should it promote the sale of the book on Amazon? This is a choice that must, and in time will, be tested to see which approach is more profitable. At present I'm going with Amazon as the royalty on a soft cover sale is greater than my current price for a pdf download.

    So the setup is this. I run small ads to drive traffic to the landing page at my website which gives a sales pitch and link to the page on Amazon that offers my book. And I do some tracking.

    Google shows me how many "impressions" they've given each of my ads -- how many times my ads have appeared somewhere out there -- and how many clicks each ad has received. I am charged only for clicks. In placing my ads with Google I can specify how much money I want to spend daily. Here you can start with just a few dollars -- $2, $5 or whatever. You'll want to let an ad run for at least 30 days before you kill it, even if you are only getting a handful of clicks. A small number of clicks means small expense.

    Aside from the statistics I get from Google, I get statistics from my own website. These show the volume and sources of traffic. Now, with my ads running, they show a leap in the amount of traffic coming from Google. This is good.

    From my own web stats I also get counts of traffic going from my landing pages to my Amazon book pages. This tells me how effective the sales presentations on my landing pages are.

    Finally, from the traffic going to my book pages at Amazon, I can judge how effective the sales presentations at my website and my descriptions of the books at Amazon are. I am now in a position where i can identify the weak links in the chain and try to strengthen them.

    At this point let's forget my personal marketing concerns and look at yours. My first point for you is that you can read all day about advertising but if you really want to learn about advertising you have to put up some money and do it. This requires two things. First, you have to be ready to spend money, say just a few hundred dollars knowing it could be lost. Next, you must have a product to advertise, a finished product that can be delivered immediately... perhaps a PERFUME.

    Here I'm going to quit for today. My next message will discuss how you might use what I've talked about above to sell... PERFUME.