Thursday, January 20, 2011

Marketing for Manipulators

An order of Charisma with that Latte please!I don't know if you are like me and analyze every commerical or print ad for some hidden manipulative message. Seriously- it's like an invasion of my space if I can tell from a print ad that they are just shining fancy lights and using glue to make the orange look like it has fresh morning dew and use words that evoke emotion, smell, or auditory memories. I scoff and wonder why colors these days have to be called "Citrus" or "Sorbet"- that's not a color. Furthermore, I'm slightly annoyed at myself for capturing those types of words in a file that I plan on totally using later to add some brain trust interest in something I paint that's called apple tart, I mean red. I'm annoyed by those toy commericals that show toys doing things that the real deal could never possibly do. In light of all this, it may not suprise you that in my daily reading of random and assorted "business success for the newbie" books, marketing is one of those topics I'll have to able to navigate more or less- and make it look like I'm a pro or know one from TV. And I'll probably need to be less paranoid about the effects than I am now. I took a few marketing classes in college. It was an interesting perspective to look at the customer from the seller's perspective but I'm never really thought about putting it into personal practice expect for nodding "knowingly" at the technique used in the latest ad for razors.

Anyway- so I read this book called "Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer's Brain". At first the title really annoyed me becuase it inferred that there is some buy button in your customer's brain that you can root out if you had laser beams in your eyesockets to hypnotie your prey and fancy words that instantly makes people buy, buy, buy... It's annoying because I'm a customer of products too- we all are- and none of us want to feel as though we are being manipulated or pressured into a sale. I pressed on with a sneer. After all, my latte was still hot.

The book actually ended up being pretty good- like a 7 out of 10. My engineering brain had to skip some of the less substantive sections and scattered conclusions based on complete opinion but the essential message was this: You aren't really selling a thing- you are selling a solution that fits the need. So think really really hard about what the need is or what you provide by differentiating your similar-to product by, for example, laser engraving the darn thing.

Really bad example: I'm not selling a pen that I laser engraved your logo and name on- I'm selling a writing instrument that sets you apart from your peers! This pen says "You, sir, have a unique perspective that everyone wants to know about!!" (Gag)

The point was- Tell your customer that you solve the need. Most of the time you don't have to mention, for example, even what you are selling becuase the solution is obvious enough that you know sort of what it is. The rest of the book (and the point) really comes down to being authentic, believing in your product, solution, or service, and being relatable.

There's actually a whole chapter (or section at least) about having integrity. Sorry folks- if you don't have it- you already ooze that (love that word- ooze). And since you are oozing, you likely don't know or care that you don't have integrity and it's a pretty hard thing to fake. Although I guess if someone faked it well- how would I know.... I press on.

There are some pretty good tips in there about how to really grab the attention of your audience though different medium like print ads, website design, and presentations. Really- you don't have to be selling any actual product to use some of this stuff-- I think even in the cube farm each time you send in your weekly report or send in proposal estimates-- you should be following some of these guidelines becuase your boss is your customer, your co-workers are your customer, and your customer.... well-- that's obvious. Don't put them to sleep! Shape the message you want to send in a way that speaks to them as opposed to drowing them with data or hosting your business on a really bad, loud, blinking website.

Disclaimer: my website is still super crappy and while I slowly build my little catalog I have a new resolution to pay attention to a little of this marketing stuff but do it in an authentic way- not through paid bloggers poking at my Google Analytics. This book seemed more genuine than those scary ones that focus on shiny teeth and coiffures. (There's another fun word- coiffures).

So- with my daily latte I'd like some charisma to go please. Oh, and I'd also like to be able to mingle freely and strike up conversations with ease. Oh- and plug my business to complete strangers in a way that gets them misty eyed when they think of me.... not in that bad way that reminds them of the sound of a birthing walrus but is that way that says-- "I'll never buy a pen from anyone else... ever! I need a recurring monthly order of 100 pens with 'I love you PookeyBear' on them for $40 each!"

Yeah- that would be great. Does the "product that sells itself" really exist or was that a marketing ploy too? I'd like 10 of those with exclusive rights, please.

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