We had an interesting experience the other day. It was a beautiful late Summer day in the midwest, really one of those spectacularly blue sky, low humidity, light breeze kind of days that is the main reason we live in this part of the country. We were doing one of our favorite things, visiting a local art fair. As we walked around, saying to ourselves over and over again that we were not going to spend money no matter what, we came upon an artist who works with glass and sure enough, got pulled in. His work was really unique and quite beautiful. We saw a vase that we both instantly fell for and asked what the price was. Perhaps we gave a look of disappointment or disbelief, I don’t know, but just as soon as he quoted a price, he offered to discount it. Frankly, neither of us thought his price was too high because the vase was beautiful and we loved it. It was certainly more than we wanted to spend but it was absolutely a fair price for this unique piece. What was also curious, this artist was selling his glass work. We had to wait while he completed another transaction, so we couldn’t justify his diminishing the value of his work based on a lack of sales. He must have struggled with this.
This led me to think about how challenging it is to place a value on any marketing effort we make. It’s funny how there are these two little people influencing us, one sitting on each shoulder and whispering in our ear, but the two voices are the opposite of each other. One of those little people is stoking our fears, that whatever message we put out there, it won’t resonate with our target market because the economy is just too bad. The other is saying, oh, this is so brilliant people will love us and we’ll be flooded with leads dying to buy our products or hire our services. Fear versus hubris, right.
You know that the reality is really somewhere in between, I don’t have to tell you that. But it is difficult to place a value on the message you put out there. At best, you want that message to prompt some action, ideally a conversation, that allows you to engage and form a trust-based relationship that will likely culminate in a purchase. The more “conversations” you are having, the higher value you can place on that message.
If you follow these guidelines for every marketing message you do, I believe it should help improve that message’s value: (taken from Roman Hiebing, Jr. and Scott Cooper in “The Successful Marketing Plan”)
- Who: Who are you talking to?
- Discuss the target market’s fears, joys, how they purchase and how by buying from you it answers these.
- Point: What is your point?
- The point has to be an insightful way to communicate your message always writing in the voice or style of the target market without industry jargon
- Word: What is the one key word in the point?
- Only one word, one idea. Is it Experience? Is it Value? Is it Respect?
- Care: Why should I care?
- It has to pass two tests, What’s in if for Me? and So What? This has to be brief and it must be the reasons that come from your target market
- Believe: Why should I believe you?
- You are making a promise. I expect that you can accomplish the minimum requirements however, what unexpected promise do you bring? Is it believable? You should include four reasons.
- Feel: How should I feel?
- What emotion should be felt after seeing or reading your communication?
- Do: What am I supposed to do?
- This is the Call-to-Action. It should be very specific and intuitive. This is also how you measure the communication in terms of its effectiveness, relevance and pay-back.
The bottom line: Above and beyond anything else, your message and its value can only be determined by what it does to your bottom line. Does it cause the fundamental behavior we’re all looking for, the decision to buy!
I’d love to hear your comments
Just a note, for any of you that were curious, yes, we did buy that beautiful vase.