As customers, we get pretty agitated when we can see the “marketing” behind a brands message. It could be a force as big as a car company or an organization as humble as a non-profit. When we see the machinery at work – even when intentions are good – we feel icky at worst or a little uncomfortable at best.
I had an experience like that at a school open house years ago that played a corny slide show with sappy music and featured pictures of children in the throws of learning and joy. Bad intentions? No. Just the wrong angle on a crowd who doesn’t want to hold hands and cry so much as understand “what will you be teaching my kid?” I had a similar experience watching a Super Bowl ad. It opened with a little girl – beautiful and heartbreakingly earnest. She voiced over a slew of poetic verses, something a 22 year-old might say at a spoken word slam – that felt like maybe it was leading to an anti-bullying campaign, gun law advocacy or a plug for staying in school. But guess what it was? A Maserati commercial. Ughghgh! They turned an innocent eight year-old hero into a “beast” about to be unleashed with ….uhm, her sports car? Really, people?
Our customers want to buy (not be sold to). We want to be moved by someone’s solution, insight or description of something that puts us in the center of the picture, not feel something is being forced on us or manipulated to sound better than it is.
They get me! They see me! That’s me! That’s my sense of humor! That’s my style! That’s my problem! They get it!
We like to feel that way. As small business owners we can truth-up our marketing pretty quickly. Stand with me in telling authentic stories that connect to sincere pay-offs. Cha-ching! That’s a sale.