Nascar Blindness – Marketing Myopia

This disease is a strongly held belief that if no one in your friend’s circle is into something, then no one else is, either.

In 2004, Arthur Miller wondered, “How can the polls be neck and neck when I don’t know one Bush supporter?” Since he did know any, he wondered where were all these people? 

This is a symptom of something that afflicts people within the marketing world. Alan Wolk called it Nascar Blindness. 

This disease is a strongly held belief that if no one in your friend’s circle is into something, then no one else is, either. Things everywhere are like the way we are. This is what led advertisers to completely ignore Nascar for so many years, thereby missing the chance to engage with the millions of middle-class fans who enjoy auto racing. (They still don’t understand why people would watch cars drive in a circle)

India has not been spared of Nascar blindness. CavinKare’s Velvette shampoo set the sachet trend.

Many of the bigger brands were blindsided by Velvette and were forced to come out with their sachets later. When the Pro Kabaddi League started, Mashaal Sports, the promoter, had to plead with sponsors to back the teams and league. (It helped that Mahindras were an investor). No one had expected it to succeed after all Kabaddi was a down market sport!

In media, channel blindness afflicts the many, a strongly held belief that if you’re not into certain marketing channels, then no one is or should be.  

Nascar blindness causes us to ascribe our tastes and preferences to the rest of the people. So we’re condescending and worse, still dismissive. 

Wolk’s remedy for NASCAR Blindness is simple: listening! One of the most underutilized tools in marketing, but also one of the most valuable. Talk to your customer on their terms.

Embrace a customer-centric approach for the entire experience, which requires thinking about what the customer is trying to achieve and creating new ways to add value to their experience. Then, figure out the right messaging and channel to do it in.

It leads us to the a) best ways to lead customers where we want them to go – toward a purchase, loyalty, and advocacy b) to the channels our customers prefer in their journey to know, like, and trust. 

It opens our eyes to an engaging and sustainable customer experience.

As marketers, we have to stay updated, step outside our comfort zones, and carefully evaluate all options in which to distribute the message based on the customer’s preference, not our own. 

As marketers, that’s our KRA!

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