By Jonny Lupsha, Current Events Writer
KFC has teamed with Cooler Master to make a PC that heats up fried chicken, Engadget reported. While not available on the mass market, the bucket-shaped computer is the result of a viral marketing campaign on Twitter. Marketing creates value in customers’ eyes, with surprising results.
According to Engadget, KFC—whose recent marketing campaigns have included a short-form romantic drama about Colonel Sanders that aired on Lifetime—isn’t licked yet. “KFC and Master Cooler have unveiled a bucket-shaped gaming PC that also warms chicken,” the article said. “To be clear, this is mostly a Cooler Master PC with the KFC name slapped on the side. The key distinguish feature is a chicken warmer that strongly resembles a grease tray.
“While most gaming PCs could technically warm chicken, this special chamber can heat up what looks like two small wings using ‘natural heat and airflow,’ according to Cooler Master.”
Whatever the reality, people are talking. The tweet with the launch video on KFC Gaming’s official Twitter account, which was launched December 22, garnered 25,500 retweets and over 65,000 likes, in just five days. Marketing campaigns come in many forms, some less conventional than others.
Marketing is often considered to be nothing more than advertising campaigns and themed discounts like Black Friday sales. However, that’s a narrower definition that is not adequate.
“Marketing’s job is to create value for customers, not just to communicate value that’s already been created,” said Dr. Michael A. Roberto, Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University. “Marketing does this by understanding who the customer is, what they value, and how they can deliver that value better than the competition.”
Dr. Roberto cited management expert Peter Drucker as once saying, “Business has only two functions—marketing and innovation.” Dr. Roberto added that from his own experience, the value of something a business offers is determined solely from the perspective of customers who are willing to buy it.
“If we use this customer-centric definition of value, then we understand that innovations aren’t developed in a lab, and if they are, they aren’t intrinsically valuable,” he said. “Those innovations need to be matched with a set of customers who actually appreciate them, and those innovations need to then be explained to customers in a way that they’ll understand them. Then they need to be priced in such a way that those customers will be willing to pay for them, and then sold in locations where the customers are willing to buy them.
“All of those decisions are functions of marketing.”
In marketing, it’s important to understand and respect one another’s differences. In fact, it’s one of the most important things there is.
“That’s the first rule of trying to understand your customers: Remember that you’re almost certainly not your customer,” Dr. Roberto said. “You may be older or younger, you may be more or less educated, you may have more or less tolerance for risk.”
There are four kinds of customer value for a product: functional value, which is what a product does or what solution it provides; monetary value, which is how the price paid for something relates to its overall perceived worth; social value, like owning in-fashion clothes that will get you noticed; and psychological value, which comes into play when we use a product to express ourselves or to make ourselves feel better.
A service or product can appeal to a customer’s sense of value while being perceived to have any combination of these four types of value. Determining which of the values matter to the customer is key in having a successful marketing campaign, thus closing the gap between the marketeer’s sales efforts and the customer’s willingness to buy the product—even if the value is seen as a gaming PC shaped like a bucket of chicken.
Dr. Michael A. Roberto contributed to this article. Dr. Roberto is the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He earned an MBA with High Distinction and a DBA from Harvard Business School.