I have watched the Apprentice since it started and I must admit am a bit of a apprentice addict. I love business type programmes where I can learn things and use in my own business Bright Light Marketing. I must admit with the Apprentice I do learn things but mainly because I learn what not to do in most of their tasks.
I always like the marketing week each year it promises so much and each year it delivers so little in terms of the quality of the marketing but usually gives mementos like Pantsman and now Octopus to sell a cleaning product.
Every year each team sets out to make the best TV advert and Radio Advert with mixed results and every year they forget the most important thing about marketing – The Customer.
If you have ever studied marketing you will have learnt about the 4 P’s – Product, Price, Place, Promotion. But to me the most important part of any marketing is the end-user the customer. Yes the product is important, pricing is key too high it may not sell to low and you are in dangerous ground, yes distribution channels are important and the glam part that is the promotion part is important but only if you have really got into the mind of the end-user of the product.
Not one member of any of the teams thought about the end-user of the cleaning product well I guess to be fair the Octopus team tried with the idea it was a stressed housewife who needed five plus hands to finish her work and cuddle her husband. But I think this stepford wife take on it would have scared most females juggling in the 21st Century away as well as turning off many male partners who are perfectly capable and do pick up the cleaner themselves.
It would have been great to see a debate about who the customer was, what were the benefits to that customer of the product and what communication methods would be best to get their attention. As for example if I was the end customer I don’t watch TV adverts and never listen to commercial radio so how are you going to get my attention about a new cleaning product?
I think in all the tasks this is where the Apprentice teams let themselves down they dive into the task without once thinking about the customer and any business that does that is doomed to failure as at the end of the day quite simply its the customer stupid! Or as in to Kill a Mocking Bird you need to take time to walk in someone elses shoes and see it from their viewpoint. Do that in marketing and you have the key to a successful campaign.
I did enjoy the programme but it did make me wonder if this is the elite of the so-called young business world we are in trouble. I would urge the BBC for next years Apprentice please get some candidates who think about the end-user not just the task!