“The first gift of the new year is this Aladin mug. We promise to deliver better service and goods in the new year.” This was the Tweet from Aladin Book, welcoming the new year with a promise to its customers. Aladin Book is a well-known online bookstore. Its Tweet about goods was not referring to actual products, but fan paraphernalia for customers of Aladin. Aladin Book is best known among people for its selling pattern. It advertises books using their covers or characters. Each month, and sometimes each week, the company introduces new goods that make every customer’s heart pound with excitement. The bookstore refers to its audience targeting as “goods marketing” and more and more companies are following suit. SMT takes a closer look at this selling strategy.
Fan Paraphernalia; Goods Marketing
Goods marketing is the latest trend in audience targeting. It is a coined phrase and comes from the words “goods” and “marketing”. In other words, it’s a marketing strategy of using an item to make a sale. In the past, the ‘goods’ were usually fan paraphernalia for the latest girl or boy group, animated film and cartoons. Companies chose particular colors that matched each group such as white for H.O.T., yellow for SECHSKIES, and orange for SHINHWA. They also sold T-shirts, raincoats, key rings, pencil cases, and glow sticks of those colors that fans would purchase. The market profit was huge, totally over 100 billion won annually.1) Today, however, the word ‘goods’ now has a more comprehensive meaning; that is, companies are now selling items that correlate with consumers’ interest in books, brands, and even political ideas. McDonald’s is regarded as the frontrunner in this new trend of goods marketing. For years people have ordered a ‘McDonald’s Happy Meal’ and in return received a small figurine or plush cartoon character. Consumers usually center on the toy, not the meal itself. The kids were never really interested in the hamburger, fries, and drink when they choose Happy Meal; they wanted the toy. This successful marketing ploy, however, did not begin as a goods marketing technique. In 1979, McDonald’s advertisement designer, Dick Brams, came up with the idea of adding a toy to the purchase of a kid’s meal simply to relieve a child’s boredom and allow parents to eat casually at the table. However, that was start of goods marketing. Since that time, the scale of good marketing usage has soared, and especially today, more and more companies and even political parties are employing the practice of goods marketing.
Buy This and I Get That, too
The publishing industry makes the most use of goods marketing. Aladin Book is well known for reaping the benefits of goods marketing. The company has created a number of witty creative goods. For example, it has molded a bookcover into a pillow shape and placed the following comment on it: “No longer sleep on a book!” According to Aladin, customers often reply with review comments such as “I like Aladin’s products”. In fact, it is the third highest reason behind Aladdin Books’ success. In 2014, once the public became more aware of their marketing strategy, the store saw sales increase by 14% and in 2015, there were up another 13%.2) This profit trend is in direct opposition to the nationwide downward book purchase trend. (Book purchases per month, per household totaled only 18,154 won in 2014 and 16,623 won in 2015.3) Also, Aladin has brought about a new era in publishing. Other publishing companies including Yes24 and Kyobo book have also started marketing their books through the goods marketing strategy. It has become quite common place to hear: “I buy a goods and I also get book as a free gift!” The fast food industry illustrates some outstanding examples of goods marketing. McDonald’s and Lotteria offer items that correlate to specific cartoons or animated films. The two chains target not only children but also adults who would like to have the toy. People are also pulled in by the beverage industry. At the end of every year, people will purchase a certain number of cups of coffee for the sole purpose of obtaining the upcoming year’s calendar or scheduler. At Starbucks, customers need to make 17 beverage purchases in order to receive the special end-of-year promotion item. According to Starbucks, sales of Christmas promotion beverages increase by about 8% every year.4) It appears that goods marketing keeps bringing in profits. Goods marketing is now appearing in political fields. In foreign countries, politicians use the strategy to raise campaign funds. The U.S. election last year saw various items for sale such as the bottle opener for Hillary, a dog sweater for Trump, a bib for Bernie, and other various candidate promoting caps, mugs, and key rings. Minjoo Party is the first political party in Korea to make use of goods marketing. To quickly announce the party name change, the party made cloth bags, mugs, and tumblers that supporter the new name and logo. Goods marketing has also become a great hit in other industries such as film and cosmetics. As it can easily be applied to any number of fields, it is expected to expand into more various areas in the near future.
Why Goods Marketing Has Become So Popular
Goods has always loved by fans who like something. However, certainly there is a background and cause why public gives attention to Goods. Changing attitudes towards huge fan, usually called Deok-hu, could be one of the main reasons. People now do not fear announcing to others that they are fans of something. According to BC Card, 44% of people in their twenties, 28% of those in their thirties, and 21% of people in their forties say they are Deokhu, and a survey found that the word ‘Deok-hu’ in Social Network Service is also increased from 46% in 2013 to 60% in 2016. Besides this aspect, companies are also spending time and money to learn about goods marketing in order to move and keep up with the changing times and trends. Kim Hyungbu, CEO of Na-um Communication, said, “The mania has both of high intention and purchasing power. Targeting them by goods marketing can bring success to a company.”5) For huge fans, completeness is top priority. Price falls second to a product’s competitive edge. In other words, Deok-hu is the best target of goods marketing strategy. People today will also look to a goods’ ability their sense of unity. Yu Wonsang, a professor of Business at Korea University, said, “Starbucks’ core product is not coffee, but lifestyle. Consumers longing for the lifestyle it sells will pay for the luxury of its products to feel a sense of unanimity with others of the Starbucks culture.”6) Fans of boy or girl group buy certain goods in order to make preference as a part of their life. Also, the items they purchase become unifying uniforms of the group the person wishes to join. This idea is even more pronounced in politics. By wearing a T-shirt that has the political party’s campaign message, a person feels united with other supporters or members of the party. For example, Donald Trump knows the influential power of a good and made effective use of that influence during his campaign for presidency. In the end, he won the election and is now the president of the United States. In addition to the idea of unity, in the political arena, goods are used as sources of income. Political parties are always in need of funds for campaigning and political activism, so by producing and selling goods, parties can raise needed funds, and at the same time, publicize their party. Barack Obama back in 2008 was the first political candidate to use the technique. At the time, Obama Camp was able to make and sell goods for a profit of approximately 30 million U.S. dollars, and in 2012, it made 40 million dollars. Sanders also made profits of 12.8 million in 2016. Micheal Cornfield, a professor of Political Management at The George Washington University, said, “Merchandising revenue has been more significant for candidates who don’t have a network of big bucks donors to rely on, but are trying to raise money through lots of little donations. In the election of the United America, It was a primary factor for Trump and Sanders who relied more on grassroots donation and contacts.”7) That is, merchandising revenue or political goods marketing makes it possible for average citizens to participate in politics and raise money for their party’s candidate.
Goods and Goods Marketing Made by Deok-hu
“All Deok-hus are equal, all Deok-hus are free, and all Deok-hus deserve a chance to pursue their liking.” This is Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Deok-hu. While it parodies the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Deok-hu firmly believe they deserve special consideration in today’s market industries. Goods marketing centers on Deok-hu, and as such, it is now a social trend. In the last edition of The Sookmyung Times, an article focused on society’s hesitancy to express interest because of economic pressures. However, if more interest is shown towards Deok-hu, concern expressed in the last edition will disappear. This reporter hopes that society, and that SMT readers also be a Deok-hu of something to be that society.
1) Noh Jungyung, “Price is not a problem as long as I can sleep with cuddling Yu Sijin”, The Kyunghyang Shinmun, July 14, 2016
2) Ann Seonhye, “Free Gifts over the Main Product”, THE PR NEWS, November 15, 2016
3) Kim Kyunghee, “The Average Book Purchases, per Month, per Household is ’15,355won’, The Lowest Ever”, Josunilbo, March 10, 2017
4) Same with 2
5) Park Eunwon, “Deok-hu Who craze for goods open their wallets wide”, Newsculture, December 13, 2016
6) Lee Subin, “Banana Milk Key Rings, Exo Ear Phones...Goods Lined Customer”, Hankyung, May 2, 2016
7) Hellena Pike, “Inside the Business of Trump’s Trucker Hats and Clinton’s Pantsuit Tees”, Business Of Fashion, August 15, 2016