My Burrito Knows my Name

burrito-marketingSo I was heating up a burrito for lunch just yesterday and reading the package before I threw it away… here’s what I saw.

The brand of the burrito is Evol and in case you’re wondering, I’ve tried a lot of store-bought frozen burrito brands and Evol is by far the best if you’re into organic and healthy foods. But that’s beside the point. And no, I don’t work for Evol. I just like their burritos.

I was caught off guard by the wording on the label because I’ve never had a food label recognize what I was doing at that point in time. I was killing time waiting for my burrito to cook and the fact that my burrito wrapper was smart enough to realize that made me want to investigate what else the wrapper had to say. Maybe it knew my future too :)

Marketing Trend or Technique?

So what’s the big deal? It’s just some clever text on a burrito wrapper.

Seeing this type of personal marketing brought to mind a larger trend towards a lighter type of marketing that I’ve noticed in recent years. You’ve probably seen it too on websites, TV, food packaging, and all different types of marketing. If the marketing experts have come up with a name for this technique, I just did some searching and can’t find it. It’s possible that it is just a trend in marketing more than an actual technique.

Let me take a shot at defining it and  challenge you to think about how you can use this type of marketing in your business…

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s call it Personal Marketing. I consider it “personal” because this type of marketing usually acknowledges the consumer first and focuses on them rather than on the product or service being marketed. In the case of the burrito packaging, it was speaking directly to me and using the personal pronoun YOU. As I mentioned, it even acknowledged my exact current state (waiting for the burrito to cook).

A company doesn’t always have to focus on the consumer to make their marketing more personal. Another recent example of Personal Marketing I’ve seen on TV is companies criticizing themselves and being honest about mistakes. I assume they are trying to show themselves as imperfect, willing to change, and accountable – not something big companies often do. This takes a lot of “marketing guts” and goes a long way for personalizing the company to consumers. Some examples of this are the BP apology and recovery commercials related to the gulf oil spill or Dominos Pizza making fun of itself (see video below)

The opposite of Personal Marketing is traditional marketing and its the standard way big companies have marketed themselves for a few decades. If the Evol marketing team wanted to use traditional marketing on their burrito wrapper, they probably would have just talked about what’s in their burritos and why they are great. I imagine the paragraph would have started with “Our burritos…” and focused on the product and not the customer.

The major difference between personal marketing and traditional marketing is the focus on building a relationship between company and consumer rather than just selling a product or marketing a brand. In the past, this type of relationship building may have seemed unprofessional to large companies but now they are realizing that it is crucial in creating a brand that is admired and talked about.

Lighten Up Your Marketing

How can you use personal marketing and connect with your customers more while marketing your business or products? Here are a few ideas…

  • Add a little humor in your marketing. Humor always personalizes you and engages your customers.
  • Be honest to your customer base about the mistakes you’ve made and make them right
  • Start viewing your customers as people and not numbers that help you reach your bottom line financial goals.
  • If you are a small business, be honest about it and don’t try to create the facade of a large company. Since so many markets are dominated by large companies, it is often refreshing for people to see a small business that is ok being small.

What Do You Think?

Have you seen this trend in marketing? What are some examples you can think of?

Do you think it’s a just a marketing fad or an actual marketing technique?