You only get one chance. Use it well.
By MARK RIFFEY for the Flathead Beacon
Ever watch a TV commercial for a restaurant and see examples of food that you know they’ll never serve? Of course you have. It’s particularly common among national fast food restaurants. At this point, do you have any expectation that the food in the ad will even remotely resemble what you’ll receive if you eat there?
Advertisements which present something the restaurant will never deliver set the tone for what people expect from all advertising – including yours. You need to inoculate your marketing so that it never makes this mistake.
It takes one time for people to lose trust in your advertising. ONE TIME.
Politics – an obvious example
A politician’s financial or legal issues make for an ideal illustration. Are financial problems all that unusual for folks who have dealt with long-term health care challenges? Among all the people you know, probably not. How much different is this vs. a lawsuit over stream access? While you may not know anyone who has dealt with the latter, you can be all but certain that neither party will present these situations accurately and completely.
In their minds, the truth seems to be something to be used only when it’s a weapon. In both cases, the actual truth might be seem reasonable – but we’ll be sure that each candidate’s negative ads will carefully paint these situations to make them look as evil and/or incompetent as possible.
OK, sure. No one believes anything they see in a political ad. Or… no one believe anything in a political ad for the opponent of the person you plan to vote for. And we’re so used to it that we expect everything but the truth.
Just like the ads from many national restaurants.
Don’t create problems for yourself
For a politician, these kinds of problems occur when you don’t get out in front of your own issues. When you let the opponent and their party announce your problems, they get the pleasure of positioning them for you. They also get first shot at defining “the facts”. No matter how true their version is, if they’re first to bring up your flaws or mistakes, you’re the one with the terrible strategy.
It’s no different for your business. You have to bring up common sales objections that others would use against you. Anyone who has done their homework has probably already thought of these objections. Anything you think you can ignore, wave away or hide is best handled by you on your terms, before you get cornered.
Inoculate your marketing
When it comes to your advertising, you have to think hard about this from the customer’s perspective. What are they really looking for? What about my business is a reason to grab their attention? What is unique about what you do and how you do it that would attract a certain person looking for a certain product or service?
If your ad manages to successfully convince someone to give your business a chance, what would possibly make you think that you can show them something in an ad that they’ll never get, or never see when they visit your place?
How do you react when that happens to you? Would you ever go back? Think back to the last time you felt this way.
Given that feeling – what’s necessary for you to inoculate your marketing against producing something like that for your prospects and customers? Start by asking others for their first impression of the ad. Get out of the echo chamber (as politicians, parties and big media should). Ask someone you trust if your ad accurately represents what you do. Ask them if it identifies something that’s important about the decision making process that would make them choose your business.
Now ask a trusted customer what they think. Does it resonate with them? Does it ring true to them? Do they feel it’s an important factor when selecting your business, much less your products and services?
Imagine if a politician or a party asked an undecided voter what they thought about their ads. Thinking of your prospects as undecided voters, ask yourself this: Would this help or hurt my cause?
What would someone who didn’t choose your business say about your ads? How do they feel about the ad you currently feel is your best?
Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a strategic, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site, contact him on Twitter, or email him at email@example.com. Check out the Flathead Beacon archive of all of Mark’s blogs.