What Being Sick Taught Me About Marketing

I’m working from home today. Why? Because I have the flu. My wife and other less sympathetic people would say that I’m down with the man flu. When I’m sick is that I am always a slow starter and I need a kickstart.  Which means caffeine. By the gallon if you please. I also need some pointless background noise. Enter morning TV. 

Morning TV here in Australia is light entertainment. Meringue light. But it is a tried and true formula, that clearly has a market from the short exposure I had today. Here are a few things I learnt:

Morning TV advertisers really know their audience

No matter what channel I had on in the background it was mostly targeted towards women.  No surprise there. Different ages on different channels. Take one channel, if I had a dollar for every funeral plan, or free will advert I’d be a millionaire. On another it was all fashion and face-lifts. They know who they are talking to and what scratches to itch.

Some advertisers play on your fears

I don’t like this. I’ve been around the block a few times in the advertising and marketing industry and have never liked this kind of messaging. Playing on your fears of getting old, or leaving a debt to the ones you love the most when you pass away is not a positive way to communicate. It loads you with guilt and feeling like a loser.

You can spot a fake a mile off

There was one advertorial that had a presenter showing how good their facelift cream was. The wrinkles ‘melted’ away. The older female model was asked a loaded question and very wooden way answered how fantastic the product was. Total and utter fake. The product may work, but I didn’t believe what she said.

So what?

Now I can almost hear you down the thick internet cable saying ‘so what?’ what does have to do with the church, non-profit or business I work at. It has everything to do with it. If you are going to communicate you need to:

1. Know your audience. Inside out. So often I see things communicated or advertised that isn’t scratching an itch the audience has. What are their fears, dreams, hopes? (Here is a post I wrote ages ago for churches about knowing your audience and another post about primary audiences)

2. Don’t make your audience feel guilty. There is enough negativity in the world without you adding to it. Sure you can tell them how you can help them, but don’t them up with guilt. We all carry around enough baggage as it is don’t we?

3. Be real. If you are storytelling through someone’s personal story, they better be believable. People can spot a fake a mile off. (It doesn’t mean don’t use an amateur just because they don’t come across well on TV.)

How about you? What have seen that just plain sucks? Comment below.