Blake Shelton is a brilliant marketer. Whether or not country music speaks to you, for anyone who attended his concert at the Minnesota State Fair this past weekend, it would be hard to deny the chemistry he perfected with his audience. I’ve never witnessed a better concert from the perspective of the storytelling used to lure and charm the audience, while at the same time justify each selection of the musical set. I suspect the emotional (and marketing) bonds he formed there will last long beyond his 90 minute performance, but what do I know?
Truth be told, I’ve never taken a Marketing 101 course; what I’ve learned about this subject has been soaked up over the last twenty years in collaborating with some really smart marketing and creative types.
And, one of the lessons I’ve learned is the importance of “knowing your audience” — that it has great value not only in the context of marketing, but it should be considered a critical foundation for all successful communication, whether oral or written. Blake clearly understands and lives this lesson.
In stark contrast, the lesson of “knowing your audience” was lost in the first line of a recent unsolicited email promotion landing in my inbox for an upcoming intellectual property seminar:
“Copyright and Patent are the two most important aspects of IP. We understand the importance of educating the global legal community about these aspects. That’s why on behalf of the Global Outsourcing Association of Lawyers (GOAL), I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to our next Web Conference on 29 August 2012.”
In our increasingly subspecialized legal profession, I suspect that those who focus their IP practice within the field of trademarks may not agree that copyright and patent are “the most important aspects of IP.” While I understand the marketing tools of puffing and pandering — neither are served when the seller alienates a portion of the audience by diminishing their field of expertise.
Even beyond the point of alienation, I’m not sure how anyone could broadly determine the “most important aspects of IP” — especially without defining the context of the statement or at least the industry or the particular company in question. For example, although not always the case by any stretch, the most valuable intangible intellectual property assets of plenty companies are wrapped up in their brands, reputation and goodwill, not patents or copyrights. And, trademarks can last forever, unlike the others, by the way.
But, I’m not here to say that Trademark is the most important aspect of IP, it’s an equally pointless statement that is impossible to prove. All forms of intellectual property are important. The context, the industry, the company you represent or work for will determine the most desirable and proper mix and layering of intellectual property protection.
The key to success, in my opinion, is having access to a talented intellectual property team that has a practical and strategic focus, understands the applications, benefits and limitations of each form of IP, and let’s not forget, a team that knows their audience.