Marketing lessons from the Minions

They’re everywhere! Minions by the millions! These pint-sized yellow dudes in overalls, goggles and a penchant for bottom jokes and bodily noises have taken over the world in recent weeks.

They first appeared in the delightfully clever Despicable Me movies and their very own Minions movie was released – conveniently – in time for school holidays. 

Of course this was accompanied by the usual marketing and merchandise designed to reel in kids and drag along their unsuspecting parents.

Convincing parents to take their child to the Minions movie (or in my case getting Granny and Da to take Master Five) wasn’t a hard sell. The Despicable Me series successfully marries 5-year-old toilet humour with gags that are as equally appealing to adults.

However the Minions didn’t stop there. The Minions went far beyond the usual promotion and took ‘Pester Power’ to a new level.

Pester Power 

Minions seemed to be popping up everywhere. Stalking me from every bus ad to shopping centre appearances. Then of course there were the McHappy Meal toys and Kinder Surprise toys.

Let me tell you –  “Hell hath no fury like a 5-year-old who didn’t get the Minion toy he wanted” or worse still – “I’ve already got that one!” – followed by said toy being thrown, tears and tantrums.

Welcome to the Power of Pester. That is, the marketing genius of getting children to pressure their parents to make a certain purchase.

So what can you learn from the Minions when it comes to marketing?

You can learn the difference between marketing to a customer and a consumer – and that sometimes you need to market to more than one person.

Customers vs Consumers

It’s important of course to know who your target market and ideal customers are.

However it’s just as important to understand your potential influencers – people who have the ability to influence others to buy from you.

Additionally you must understand, who is actually making the buying decision and the purchase?

You’re going to need to know the difference between Customers and Consumers.

Customers are those people who make the buying decision and purchase products for their own or someone else’s use, while consumers are the people who use the goods or service

Sometimes the customer and consumer are the same person, but often they are different. For example a parent could buy their child a new toy. The child in this case is the consumer and the parent is the customer. 

However this concept goes well beyond kids and toys.

Stop and really think about who makes or influences the ultimate buying decision for your products or services?

It may not be the person you initially think it is.

For example – putting generalisations aside for just a moment – often mothers (or those doing the grocery shopping) make a lot of household buying decisions for their spouses and children. When it comes to other types of purchases such as cars and trade based services, it may be a husband, father, brother or uncle with specific knowledge, influencing or making a purchase.

Finally, when it comes to marketing, you must consider how you’re going to reach your customers, consumers and influencers.

Don’t forget though that you should always tailor your marketing approach and messages to each person.

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Kylie Fennell
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