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Fragile Marketing: Recognize The Symptoms

Donnie Bryant of Donnie Bryant Direct

Donnie Bryant of Donnie Bryant Direct Response Marketing

Today’s guest post is from Donnie Bryant of Donnie Bryant Direct Response Marketing. I’ve had many online conversations with Donnie and I always love interacting with him on multiple channels. In his view, marketing and copywriting isn’t a job but a calling. In addition to be quite talented, he’s just one of the most generous guys in the online universe I know and you can never have too many friends out there like him. – Dan

It’s possible to know everything about marketing techniques, strategies and tools and still be a marketing imbecile.

If you don’t understand what makes people tick, you don’t have much going for you. Marketing is about people, not methods. When business people miss this fact, the marketing they produce is usually pretty fragile. Always in danger of falling apart. Susceptible to defeat in the face of opposition or competition.

Fragile marketing is all around us. Here are 4 major symptoms — do your communications suffer from any of them?

1) Price-based messages are fragile
Unless you have no mailbox, TV or internet, you’ve probably seen dozens of advertisements for Black Friday “doorbuster” sales. Doorbusters take urgency to the extreme, offering uber-low prices to drive traffic to stores (or to a lesser extent, websites).

Don’t get me wrong; everyone loves a good deal. But consider the position you put yourself in when you put all your eggs in the low price basket. You have to be cheaper than Walmart. You have to compete with the preponderance of their commercials, too. Is that really the contest you want to participate in?

While this is true all year ’round, consumers (at least here in America) are practically programmed to shop at big box retailers for Black Friday and other commercialized holidays. The retailers spend millions of dollars broadcasting their bottom-basement prices to your customers. The deck is stacked against you.

Remedy
No matter what you sell, if you don’t a) offer something unique, b) make a more persuasive appeal, or c) develop a special relationship with your customers, you lose. Work on one or more (preferably all 3) of these.

2) Messages without “rewards” are fragile
As Howard Luck Gossage said, “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.” The only reason people will pay attention to your marketing message at all is if you tell them what’s in it for them. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’re not interested in you or your product/service. They have a very limited amount of time in their day; why should they give any of it to you? You won’t earn their attention by talking about yourself or the features of the thing you sell.

Remedy
Make your customer the center of each of your marketing pieces. Most businesses get this wrong, focusing on whatever they love about their product or their company. Or they think making an interesting, funny ad will do the trick. But if the message never makes a connection between the product and the customer’s felt need, that message is fragile.

3) When you see potential customers as breathing bundles of raw biological desires, you’re messages end up being fragile
Yes, people buy for emotional reasons. (Just ask anyone who is looking to buy a house.)

Yes, they have desires that should be appealed to.

But don’t ever forget that your customers are human beings (we call it “ubuntu”). We all have values, morals and a sense of nobility. There’s a longing for connectedness and purpose in our hearts.

We love. We hope. We want our lives to matter.

Ignoring these realities can put you in a fragile position over the long term. A competitor who does more than scratch a prospect’s current itch, who presents something bigger than the satisfaction of an immediate physical need has the long-term advantage.

Remedy
Build a sense of community. Become associated with some cause your customers care about, or start your own. Share your “why” and your passion; they can be contagious and they create a bond with others who feel the same way.

4) If it isn’t obvious how to take action on your offer, there’s unnecessary fragility in your message

Remedy
Make it easy to buy. Don’t assume people will know what to do. Tell them to go to your website, call your phone number or whatever they have to do to take the next step. Don’t make them guess or hope they’ll figure it out.

Your Action Steps

1) Study the remedies to any of the symptoms you recognize in your own marketing.

2) Get some help if you’re not sure how to apply the remedies to your messages.

3) Whatever you do, don’t ignore these symptoms if you see them. Of course you have a million and one things going on, especially during the holiday season. All the more reason you should make sure you’re marketing is strong. Fragile marketing makes one more thing to worry about: weak sales!

To get in touch with Donnie Bryant, email db@donnie-bryant.com or call 312.450.9291.