Have you ever seen a television commercial that left you scratching your head thinking, “What the heck was that even about!?” Interestingly enough, there’s a technical name for those ads — it’s what we call “bad marketing” or “wasted ad dollars.”
Sorry if this crushes the hopes and dreams of the creatives out there, but marketing is about results… Period. Peter Drucker, the father of modern management once said, “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.”
Unfortunately, sales and marketing have become notorious for recklessly venturing down separate paths, and when that happens and they aren’t there to check and assist one another, one sibling tends to become pushy and greedy, while the other is all eccentric and artistic. But, when they work in harmony, they tend to be much more focused and the results are a whole lot better.
Some of the most effective marketing models are found in direct response marketing, such as infomercials, like those by Guthy Renker, and mail order, such as Skymall catalogs. These brands live and die by their marketing, since it’s their primary (or only) sales channel. It has to remain effective for them to stay in business.
To follow some of the recurring elements of powerful direct marketing response pieces, here are some tactics to work into your marketing:
1. Tell Their Story – There’s a reason that lessons that have been passed down from ancient civilizations were done so by stories, fables and tales. We remember stories, since they give us perspective. Religious, philosophical and educational texts often include stories for this same reason… So tell stories!
And don’t just tell any story. Make it relatable and sympathetic. Even if you’re telling a story about your brand, make your prospect, client and customer feel like they’re the hero of the tale. They’ll remember their story!
2. Emotions Supported by Logic – Buying decisions are almost always based on emotion, at some level. Of course, they’re then going to need to back-up their decision with some hard facts and stats that make them look like they’ve made a sound reasoned decision, so logic is of importance, but it’s still secondary (for when they have to justify buying the Snuggie or Schticky to their wife!)
Along these same lines, you’ve undoubtedly heard it before but, benefits over features! People don’t buy products or services for the product or service; they buy it for the experience or the outcome…what that does for the customer. So if your product makes their life easier, more fun, less anxiety-ridden or more secure, focus on those outcomes first and foremost, then touch on the features where it makes sense for clarification.
3. Track and Test – The only way to know how well something is working is to test. Always run tests against your marketing campaigns, even if they’re tiny, to make sure you’re getting optimal results. If you’re not tracking and testing, you’re flying blind, which is not smart or effective business.
4. Don’t Fix What’s Not Broken – Lastly, there’s a reason that you’ve seen the same, seemingly tired ad in the back pages of your favorite tabloid magazine for some magical hair tonic – it means it’s working. A smart marketer will milk a great ad for all it’s worth, until you can beat that existing ad with something even better.