NOTE: Denny personally responds to all e-mail correspondences (unless the e-mail address is somehow missing).
Readers Respond to “The Greatest Marketing Breakthrough: The Amazing Story of Wall Drug, Wall, South Dakota,” published July 20, 2006.
I never fail to read whole, thoughtful pieces in toto. Thanks for all. Small bone to pick this time. I propose it’s not the best time to use Jihad (or, for that matter, crusade) notwithstanding your obvious benign intent. I’m not looking to be politically correct here, just respectful. I look forward to your next.
Thanks, Denny, for another great article. Our one and only visit to Wall Drug was an experience I’ll never forget. You article certainly brought it to life again for me.
Thanks so much for mentioning Wall Drug in your newsletter. My mom and dad were both graduates of Wall High School (in ‘41 and ‘34, respectively), and we tried to visit Wall at least once each summer when I was growing up. I’ve always thought the “free ice water” idea was brilliant, but just getting people to stop is only half the job—the folks at Wall Drug created a memorable place to shop and an atmosphere that encourages viral marketing (i.e. “you won’t believe what I saw at Wall Drug”). I still have my South Dakota pocket knife and South Dakota charm that I purchased at Wall Drug, and although my beloved plastic tomahawk and plastic “prospector” water bottle have been nothing but memories for many years, I still remember them clearly. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories of a truly unique place!
“* I need Jockey underwear. I need gas for the car. I need Stoli vodka. I want a Jaguar. So far, the folks at Jaguar have not persuaded me that I want their product badly enough to figure out how to pay for it or spend time persuading my wife, Peggy, that this really would be a neat purchase.
* In short, marketers do not satisfy needs; we create wants.”
I couldn’t disagree more with the above statements from the July 20 e-zine. You need/want underwear in order to feel comfortable; you prefer Jockeys. You need/want gas in order to reach your destination; you prefer Exxon. You don’t ever NEED vodka; you prefer Stoli. Marketers cannot create need/wants. They have to pre-exist. What we do is create preferences and thereby satisfy the need/wants of consumers to be happy about their purchase. My argument may be semantically based, but I don’t think so. I couldn’t create a want in you to wear pantyhose regardless of my skills or efforts. However, if I promoted the fact that research showed men wearing pantyhose had increased their libido by 50%, there’d be a line outside the door before the first ads for Man-T-Hose pantyhose ever hit the media. Point is, we satisfied a need for increased libido and created a preference for our brand.