Green Eggs And Market Plans


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If Kotler is widely seen as the father of marketing, then Theodor Geisel (aka Dr Seuss) should be proud to be marketing's funny uncle. Between 1950 and 1965, Dr Seuss inadvertently published a sophisticated range of marketing texts. At the time, these break-through marketing texts were unrecognised by industry and academia, who discarded the theories concerning relationship marketing, promotion, service recovery and product over complication. This paper sets out to recognise the role and value of the texts of Geisel, in light of post modern marketing theory and practice. The paper takes a historical perspective of how Geisel's works of the 1950s and 1960s integrated many of contemporary marketing's theories and practices, and how post modernist marketing can benefit from the insights of this unheralded scholar. It also quotes extensively from "Green Eggs and Ham", "Cat in the Hat" and recognises the importance of Sneeches with stars as brand endorsers.

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Green Eggs And Market Plans

  1. 1. Green Eggs and Market Plans: Learning Marketing from Dr Seuss Dr Stephen Dann Griffith University
  2. 2. A Marketing Scholar Unrecognised <ul><li>Dr Seuss as Marketing Theorist </li></ul><ul><li>This paper sets out to uncover the Seuss, the whole Seuss and nothing but the Seuss </li></ul><ul><li>(so help me Kotler). </li></ul>
  3. 3. Criticism and Rebuttal <ul><li>Seuss texts on relationship marketing, promotion, service recovery, and the dangers of product over complication were dismissed as childish, nonsensical and irrelevant to industry. </li></ul><ul><li>marketing is often on the receiving end of such criticisms, </li></ul><ul><li>accused of being merely applied commonsense instead of being a scientific discipline </li></ul>
  4. 4. What if? <ul><li>what if the reason the methods of marketing seem so commonplace and &quot;obvious&quot; is because they are inadvertently taught to us as children? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brandwidth of Seuss versus Disney </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seuss versus Kotler </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Marketing and Society <ul><li>marketing's role for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>image creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(McEnally and Chernatony, 1999), </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use of ethnic groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>( Szmigin and Carrigan, 2000 ), </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ethical considerations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Hunt and Vitell, 1986, Waller, 1999). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Marketing and Society 2 <ul><li>Marketing has also started to become a marketable element of contemporary culture, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>pop icons such as Dilbert ( ) featuring sketches on marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>marketing making cameo appearances in other aspects of contemporary culture. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Marketing and Society 3 <ul><li>marketing in contemporary culture has often disguised the two way interaction between marketing and society </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Society has gained an understanding, and misunderstanding of marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing has gained </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>an understanding of green marketing, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the importance of relationship marketing, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>an appreciation of its role within society </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Lessons from the Dr Seuss Marketing Manuals <ul><li>that the nature of marketing as a ubiquitous social force has been reflected in the Seuss theory </li></ul><ul><li>3 Cases </li></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1957) The Cat in the Hat Collins, Seuss, Dr, (1960) Green eggs and ham , Collins Seuss, Dr (1961) The Sneetches and other stories Collins
  9. 9. Service failure and Service recovery The Cat in the Hat Home Entertainment
  10. 10. Service Scenario <ul><li>Cat in the Hat service, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>with a range of services and products with an over emphasis was placed on tricks portfolio </li></ul></ul><ul><li>appeared to be a franchise </li></ul><ul><li>using a corporate uniform of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>red and white elongated hat, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>red bow tie, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>white gloves and an umbrella </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>strong branding image </li></ul></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1957) The Cat in the Hat Collins,
  11. 11. Product Line Up <ul><li>initial offering of &quot;Up-up-up with a fish&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>Resulted in the first of several complaining behaviours </li></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1957) The Cat in the Hat Collins,
  12. 12. Over complication <ul><li>The expanded entertainment service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Up-up-up with a fish, and added </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>holding up a cup, milk, cake, books, fish (on a rake), toy ship, toy man, red fan, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>whilst engaged in fanning (with the red fan) and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>hopping on a ball </li></ul></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1957) The Cat in the Hat Collins,
  13. 13. Service Failure 1 <ul><li>Complaining behaviour to the service provider (from fish to Cat) resulted in a second service offering from the cat, despite objections from the clients </li></ul><ul><li>Service Recovery </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaged the use of two employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Thing 1 and Thing 2 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Complaining Behaviour <ul><li>A second instance of complaining behaviour to the cat: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;Then I said to the cat,&quot; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Now you do as I say. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You pack up those Things </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>And you take them away&quot; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>resulted in the service provider, and his staff, departing from the premise, leaving the damages behind </li></ul>
  15. 15. Estimates of Damage <ul><li>Damages from the service encounter estimated as </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;And this mess is so big </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And so deep and so tall, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can not pick it up. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is no way at all&quot; </li></ul></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1957) The Cat in the Hat Collins,
  16. 16. Service Recovery <ul><li>Cat's continued reference to his service recovery behaviour as being part of the product line up of available tricks in his statements of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;Have no fear of this mess </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>said the Cat in the Hat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I always pick up my playthings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And so… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I will show you another </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good trick that I know!&quot; </li></ul></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1957) The Cat in the Hat Collins,
  17. 17. Marketing Lessons <ul><li>Swift recovery of the negative situation, and addressing a solution to the needs created by the initial service failures allowed the Cat to prevent future complaining behaviours and redeem the Cat in a Hat brand name </li></ul><ul><li>(See also Geisel (1958) &quot;The Cat in the Hat Comes Back&quot; for further examples of the Cat's role in service recovery in the home cleaning industry) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Green Eggs and Ham: Promotion, Awareness and Trial Adoption Seuss, Dr, (1960) Green eggs and ham , Collins
  19. 19. Green Eggs and Ham <ul><li>stated purpose of the text was to teach young readers the 50 most important words by use of forced repetition </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Green eggs and ham&quot; were promoted as a new product by Sam-I-am, who used personal selling techniques combined with free product trial. </li></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1960) Green eggs and ham , Collins
  20. 20. Adoption Campaign <ul><li>initial approach with a teaser campaign, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(as recommended by Stell and Paden (1999), to entice new use of the product) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>teaser campaign was expanded, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>offering an increased range of delivery options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(product customisation to meet market needs). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Continual rejection of the product by the target market was met with increased complication of the marketing message. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Campaign 2 <ul><li>demonstration of peer adoption of the product was also used (Belch and Belch, 1997). </li></ul><ul><li>Social pressure concerning product adoption was employed in an attempt to use peer pressure for adoption compliance to the marketing message </li></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1960) Green eggs and ham , Collins
  22. 22. Campaign 3 <ul><li>Errors in the campaign </li></ul><ul><ul><li>marketing message had become overly complicated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(for further examples of the dangers of message complication, see Geisel (1965) &quot;Fox in Socks&quot;). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consumer frustration at the recurring sales pitch becomes increasingly more evident </li></ul>
  23. 23. Rejection Notice <ul><ul><ul><li>I could not, would not on a boat </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I will not, will not with a goat </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I will not eat them in the rain </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I will not eat them on a train </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not in the dark! Not in a tree! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not in a car! You let me be!* </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I do not like them in a box </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I do not like them with a fox </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I will not eat them in a house </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I do not like them with a mouse </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I do not like them here or there </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I do not like them ANYWHERE! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I do not like green eggs and ham </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I do not like them, Sam-I-am </li></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Green Eggs and Ham <ul><li>Whilst awareness remains high, the product is still untried by the client. </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Seuss was creating a scenario for teaching the use of fifty words, yet he was also demonstrated that awareness without adoption fails to achieve the objective of the organisation. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Revision to the IMC Offering <ul><li>integrating the promotional message of trial adoption with a free sample in a low pressure environment, provides a greater return than the high pressure awareness campaign. </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Revised Offering <ul><ul><li>&quot;You do not like them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So you say </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try Them! Try Them! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And you may. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try them and you may, I say&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sam! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you will let me be, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I will try them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You will see </li></ul></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1960) Green eggs and ham , Collins
  27. 27. Positive Post Trial <ul><li>After a positive post trial evaluation, green eggs and ham were adopted. </li></ul>Seuss, Dr, (1960) Green eggs and ham , Collins
  28. 28. The Lesson <ul><li>Green eggs and ham illustrates the need for an emphasis on trial adoption ahead of brand recognition, and peer pressure, and illustrates the importance of consumer empowerment </li></ul>
  29. 29. Sneetches on the Beaches:. Branding, Image Transference and Social Meaning Seuss, Dr (1961) The Sneetches and other stories Collins
  30. 30. Seuss and Imagery <ul><li>recognised the significance of the power of logos as being derived from cultural meanings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;Those stars weren't so big. There were really so small </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You might think such a thing wouldn't matter at all. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Would brag, &quot;we're the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches&quot; </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. The Value of the Star <ul><li>value of the star was based on economic scarcity </li></ul><ul><li>role as a class identifying marker was dependent on the lower social groups not having access to it. </li></ul><ul><li>When faced with a situation where star bellied Sneetches from the original group could no longer rely on the star as an identifying marker, they were forced to adopt a star-free policy as an identifier </li></ul>
  32. 32. Social Disorder and Breakdown <ul><li>Message confusion ensued as both star removal and star addition services were freely available, breaking down the scarcity of the image symbol, and allowing free access to both symbols for both class groups. </li></ul>Seuss, Dr (1961) The Sneetches and other stories Collins
  33. 33. Result of Intervention <ul><li>The end result was the degradation of the message associated with the image symbol, which, incidentally broke down the Sneetch class system (for better or worse) </li></ul><ul><li>(see also Dr Seuss &quot;Too Many Daves&quot; on the importance of distinctive branding when dealing with an extensive product range of similar products) </li></ul>
  34. 34. So what’s it all about then?
  35. 35. Conclusions and Implications <ul><li>Not for one moment do I claim that Dr Seuss invented marketing </li></ul><ul><li>In a marketing discipline increasingly hung up on industry relevance, there needs to be a place for industry irrelevance </li></ul>
  36. 36. Post Modern Marketing <ul><li>Post modern marketing may provide the haven for marketing thoughts not directly relevant to the bottom line of industry. </li></ul><ul><li>It may also hold the key for discovering the next exchange theory through analysis of marketing in contemporary culture and society. </li></ul>
  37. 37. Post Seussian Marketing <ul><li>But above all, it may just happen to find marketing hiding where no-one really expected it - classic children's literature. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing is a social process, and the works of Dr Seuss are part of the socialisation process of many children, who along with learning basic literacy, are picking up basic marketing as an added bonus. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Seuss Materials <ul><li>Seuss, Dr, (1957) The Cat in the Hat Collins. </li></ul><ul><li>Seuss, Dr, (1958) The Cat in the Hat Comes Back , Collins. </li></ul><ul><li>Seuss, Dr, (1960) Green eggs and ham , Collins. </li></ul><ul><li>Seuss, Dr (1961) The Sneetches and other stories Collins </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Geisel (1961) &quot;Too Many Daves&quot; in Seuss, Dr (1961) The Sneetches and other stories , Collins. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Seuss, Dr (1966) &quot;Yertle the Turtle and other stories&quot; Collins. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Geisel (1965) &quot;Gertrude McFuzz&quot; in Seuss, Dr (1966) &quot;Yertle the Turtle and other stories&quot; Collins. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geisel's (1965) &quot;Yertle the Turtle&quot; in Seuss, Dr (1966) &quot;Yertle the Turtle and other stories&quot; Collins. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Seuss, Dr, (1965) Fox in Socks, Collins. </li></ul><ul><li>Seuss, Dr, (1971) The Lorax , Collins. </li></ul>