Posted by: @spdlm | 27 Feb 11

Marketing – Learning from the masters

Desperate Times

Many of us produce the best work when we are under a great deal of pressure. Imagine being in charge of recruiting for British Army/Airforce/Navy during WWII. That is a tough sell. You are asking for the “customers” to pay the ultimate price, their lives. This calls for well above average marketing campaign. The senior officers need the best and only the best. How about the famous “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster? Were they only brilliantly effective then? I think not.

Keep Cal and Carry On

The Trap

I have been spending quite a lot of time lately researching the effectiveness of tag-lines and the overall design of the messages. When I look at the tag-lines in many of software and web-service companies, I am afraid the large majority of them disappoint me. It seems to me that many of these companies are still confused about the difference between what the business wants its customers to get vs what the customers want to hear. This is a fine line, and even an art, I think. When the business is new and it is not able to boast its size, years in service, price or use other headline grabbing number related tag-lines, it is so easy to fall into the trap of listing the benefits the company wants to offer.

Dumbing Down

In most cases, the quick solution to making your tag-line more effective is to dumb it down. This does not mean that the customers visiting your site are dumb. Because of their preference, intelligence and lack of available time to communicate the message, the tag-line needs to be simple. What I personally believe works well frequently, is a diversion or an illusion. The poster below is a clear example of this. Nobody wants to know the true implications of this poster. The trick is then, somehow to flip this situation around to a positive connotation. The point is not about the reality or the accuracy. We are all trying to sell something to human beings with complex emotions, who instinctively make instantaneous decisions based on the delivery method of the message.

Enlist Today

Who are you?

This is the question I ask myself when I am stuck for ideas. Imagine you are making a cold-call to a large company. You say your name and your company name. You would then follow this with a short statement about your company. Like “Hello, my name is XYZ, from ABC Ltd, the cheapest telephone company in your area”. So, how would you introduce yourself? Now, when you think of it like this, you would probably think more about what the customer wants to hear, rather than giving a list of benefits your company will bring to the clients, right?


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