Monday, November 10, 2008

Is your marketing message compelling?

Have you seen the carpet cleaning commercial that sends you running to rent a steamer?

2 women are chatting in an all-white living room. Suddenly a boy's voice bursts in excitedly, "Mom, you've gotta see this!!" The women ignore him and keep chatting, but the boy calls out again. His mom exchanges an annoyed look with her friend and still doesn't respond - until she starts SHRIEKING!!  Panic! "NO! Toby NO! Get him out of here!" The family dog has entered the room- showing off the trick the boy taught him. He is dragging what my daughter would call his "bottom" across the white carpet. Sitting and scooting. Get the picture?

I LOVE that commercial. It's diabolically creepy. Chances are, if you own a dog, at some point you've had a little worry in the back of your mind about what might be on the rug. Especially if you have kids who like to roll around with the dog or lie on the floor watching the latest High School Musical DVD with friends.

Unless you have an event coming up, carpet cleaning is one of those things you know you should do, but never get around to.The commercial is amazing because it creates an immediate desire for the remedy.  I'm not a clean freak, so it can't be just me. Heck, if you have a vivid imagination, you might be switching to google "carpet cleaners" right now! (can't get that dog scooting across the carpet off my mind!)

The idea is to find a marketing message that taps into people's concerns in a way that compells them to address them. More easily said than done for most of us. However, if you start with that approach, your message will be more effective.


An example on the business side might relate to employee management processes. As they add people, firms know they need handbooks, structure & training, but rarely prioritize the effort until something "bad" happens. Working with individuals, the easiest example are the many, many people who know they should have a will, but don't get around to it.

Take a piece of paper and make two columns. On the left side- list the undesirable consequences you prevent. Problems your clients will not have as a result of working with you. On the right side- list the events or circumstances that cause your client to need a lawyer. The problems you solve for your clients. Creating a side-by-side comparison might help you think of more variations. Then use what you've learned to update your own marketing conversation.

I'm inundated with offers from folks who promise they will help me come up with exactly the right message. I'm sure an expert would improve my copy no end. What I'm realizing, however, is that a little thought, applied to every interaction I have with my audience- will improve my effectiveness.

Take the time to make your list and then see how you can put it into action to help you build your business. There are people who need your services, make it easy for them to see how you add value.