Autospeak-Straight Talk contains articles covering digital and social media marketing social communities and events marketing

Marketing Practices- What to Believe?

(Posted on Mar 7, 2015 at 02:10PM )

Marketing Practices- What to BelieveEl Gran Truco

I don’t know about you but time is one of life’s cruel tricks. When you are young you can’t wait to grow up and have your independence and experience the world and time seems to stand still. Then before you know it you’re grown up and time starts flying and you wish you could slow it down-And Can’t.

If you enjoy what you are doing and take every day that comes as a new adventure and opportunity to learn something and to make a difference in some way (in your life) you know what I am talking about.

Because then you understand that Knowledge is everything-The more you seek to learn and experience the better your life will be.

On the other hand if you are not happy with your life or your job then you are probably stuck in time and it seems to take forever to pass. If you are of this sort-GET UP?-WAKE UP? And do something about it-Please-You don’t know what you are missing and are just wasting the precious little time we are all given.

Reader Beware (Sometimes We Need a Reminder)

First of all, I would like to point out that I take exception with content that I read during the course of studying and doing research that does not reflect all the information that it could or should include that might lead the average reader with less experience in Marketing Technology to form the wrong opinion or conclusion.

Reader beware as in buyer beware is a term we all know. In the context of this article it is the collection of information necessary to be able to make a well informed decision and shame on you if you are not obtaining this information from a variety of sources and not taking one company’s or persons views, opinions or information as the only source on which to base your decisions.

Not that you don’t already know this but in today’s fast paced and sometimes deceptive media environment time once again may be weighing you down and it is sometimes easy to overlook, make a quick decision or take something as fact especially if that information is coming from a source that you trust.

Often there is limited time and/or resources to sufficiently research all the technology available and discussed and what it really can and cannot accomplish. This type of Content provides a source of information to inform and educate us on current trends and developments on products and strategies. Unfortunately, this content at times might not provide a well informed or objective view.

With today’s rapid advancement of technology the pressures to monetize and the desire to stay ahead of the competition, technology is often brought to market that has not been sufficiently developed or refine enough to do exactly what it is intended or proclaimed to do.

As an example I will refer you to my last article, A Bad Customer Experience - The Cost? - One Cent , where I bring up the following point concerning Marketing automation software.

Marketing automation technology today is evolving but still finds it difficult, especially in B2C, to be able to recognize that people are complex humans that have many different reasons for any particular action they perform.

Every customer’s experience is different and to assume or generalize what a customer’s intentions are can be an ill-advised and hazardous undertaking.

Who and What do You Believe?

It wasn’t too long ago, just last year in fact that the marketing world was advocating that the days of pushing your message on consumers to gain their attention was quickly fading and inbound marketing, pulling consumers through engaging them with quality content was taking prominence and statistics were showing the benefits.

Last year Brian Conlin shared this in an article “It’s no secret that content marketing has become ubiquitous. After all, 93 percent of B2B marketers use it, a bump of 2 percentage points from 2012. However, just how effective content marketing is might surprise you. Despite costing 62 percent less than traditional marketing, content marketing generates about three times as many leads.” 59 Killer Content Marketing Stats: 2014 Edition—via B2C.

If fact if you think about it and tell me if I am wrong, Triggered email, Retargeting and Geotracking are all push marketing disguised behind different names. And many people are pushing back.

Consumers are inundated with all the ways that exist today to get in front of them and others are developing technology to counter this with technology like ad blockers that according to a very recent article at Chief Marketer by Zach Schapira, “In the long-term if pervasive ad blocking shrinks the supply of sellable inventory, publishers may try to make up for the lost revenue by raising CPMs for advertisers.”

With all the technology that is being thrown at us today it is imperative that you have the means through trusted employees, friends or consultant who are on top of the subject you are researching and who can advise you on what you are researching can do and can’t do and what if any drawbacks there may be and if it would even benefit you.

Another example of how confusing things can really get in this recent article entitled “Is Link-Building Dead?” by Marie Haynes Founder of HIS Web Marketing and posted at Search Engine Watch exemplifies how what one person says can be interpreted in so many different ways.

Think for Yourself and what is Best for You

We are all conditioned from the time we are born by society. In one sense, is necessary to have a set of rules on how to behave to be able to maintain a sense of order and basically we have little choice but to conform to what is accepted behavior. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it can be confining and controlling if we accept everything blindly and never question anything.

Marketing companies create ads and content that condition us into taking on too much debt, instilling a must have or keep up with the Jones’ mentality (conspicuous consumption) or the need for all the latest trending products and before we know it, we are living lives created for us by the powers that be many times without our conscious participation.

Keeping up with the pace of change in Digital (Integrated) Marketing is surely one ours and industry’s biggest challenges. You no sooner have implemented one technology another comes along, sometimes from the same company, that claims to be bigger and better than the one you just implemented which may be true or a lot of marketing hype. But do you really need it? Here is where you need to make a well informed and research decision.

So don’t follow the crowd follow find what will work best for you and know the facts and you will be a lot better off for it.

William Cosgrove

Welcome to the New Sales Process: How to Let Content Do the Selling

(Posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 11:56AM )
By Matt Kamp

Picture "Pushy" isn’t the first word you want prospects to associate with your profession, but it’s a term that’s plagued the sales industry for years -- and for good reason.

With the old-school sales approach, you searched for prospects with the biggest budgets and incessantly pitched your products or services until they surrendered. The ABCs (always be closing) were your guiding principles. If there wasn’t a need, you created one. If there wasn’t an interest, you plugged anyway. If you heard “No,” it just meant you turned the screws a little tighter.

Thankfully, those days are over and consumers are taking charge of the sales process. They don’t need -- or want -- someone talking at them or selling them on a product’s value proposition. In fact, consumers go through 70% - 90% of the buyer journey before contacting a vendor.

And for both B2B and B2C industries, content is holding their hands through the process.

Let Content Build Relationships for You

When consumers identify a need, they don’t have to go directly to the seller for more information. With a few key phrases and a Google search bar, they can become instant experts on a product or service without spending a dime. Content weighs in on most questions consumers have in the purchase-decision stage.  

The sales game isn’t about pushing out your product anymore; it’s about building meaningful relationships with prospects so they come to you when they’re ready to buy. Here are five ways content marketing embodies the spirit of relationship-based sales:

1) It primes consumers on your product.

Education is at the core of relationship-based sales, and the same holds true with content. Relate to prospects on a personal level, and then educate them on the whats, hows, and whys of your product or service. For growing companies, content is a vehicle for scaling your expertise and reaching more prospects with fewer resources.

2) It fulfills needs instead of creating them.

Most products and services satisfy a consumer need or problem. Your content works in a similar fashion but fulfills the need for additional information. Provide content that meets consumer needs rather than fabricating them.

3) It establishes trust.

When content shares lessons, tips, and others secrets of the trade, it can add value to the purchase cycle. And with each consecutive piece, you’re positioned as a more credible expert in the eyes of the consumer, which helps instill trust -- a foundational principle of all long-lasting and meaningful relationships.

4) It humanizes your brand.

Consumers want to buy from people, not companies. Content puts a face to a brand and helps the reader relate to you as a person before engaging in a conversation in person.

5) It facilitates meaningful conversations.

Content naturally opens up a dialogue with readers, which can expedite the sales process and build trust. Your content qualifies leads and preps them before a sales call, so you can get straight to the tailored, hard-hitting questions that will close the sale.

Content that establishes you as a thought leader can guide readers through the sales funnel with ease. It informs them of industry trends, starts a conversation, and prepares prospects to buy from a trusted source -- you, of course.

Scale Your Sales Efforts Through Content

Forming meaningful relationships with a wide audience is a difficult feat for startups or growing companies. Content scales this process, lends credibility to your expertise, and makes sales a more collaborative effort.

Consider the following strategies for boosting your sales efforts through content:

1) Allow consumers to self-identify their needs.

Old-school sales put company goals first, but relationship-based sales center on consumer needs. Research what consumers actually want, and develop content around that. Create your inbound funnel, and write guest posts that address concerns for each type of lead. Let readers define their needs and further educate themselves on your company blog or by downloading your whitepaper. Run drip campaigns to nurture leads and develop those relationships.

2) Use content to add value.

Relationship-based sales always add value. If you’ve identified the needs of your prospects, you know how to improve their situations. Send published articles to prospects before sales calls to raise the quality of the conversation or let them know whether they’re a good fit for your product or service.

3) Forge real connections.

Old-school sales started by telling consumers their best options and then engaging in a point-counterpoint dance to hammer out any objections. Relationship-based sales start by listening to your prospects, then educating them on their best options. Share content with leads after a sales call to establish yourself as the consultant they need. Continue the conversation through education, and demonstrate your expertise.

Sharing high-quality content helps you achieve many of the same goals as traditional sales -- no aggressive sales pitch required. Consumers want applicable knowledge that will lead them through the purchase process to a decision they’re confident in. Take the first step toward building a relationship through content, and the rest will fall perfectly into place.

Reposted From Hubspot

3 Steps to Launching a Successful Contest Campaign

(Posted on Aug 30, 2014 at 10:46AM )
By MAURA RODGERS  Co-Founder at Strutta

Contests are an incredibly effective entry point to building loyal relationships with consumers. Whether they’re hoping to win concert tickets or submitting their favorite travel photos, consumers are more inclined to connect with your brand if they’re rewarded for doing so.

To entice your customers to connect with your company, we’ll delve into:

  • How to target the right customers and pinpoint where those customers spend their time.
  • How to take advantage of each platform (and other tools that can help you make the most of them).
  • How to craft your contest — and your prize — to attract an audience.
Crate & Barrel, in an effort to engage consumers online and drive gift registry creation, hosted an Ultimate Wedding Contest. It asked newly engaged couples to upload photos and share their stories for a chance to win a $100,000 dream wedding. As a result, they gained $35 million in gift registries, 16,000 entries, 500,000 votes, and more than 3 million page views.

However, you don’t have to be a big brand to reap the benefits of social promotions. Small businesses, nonprofits, and established companies can use contests to spark more meaningful conversations with their audience. Here’s how to make contests work for your brand:

1. Determine what success looks like.

Creating a promotion is easy, but as with any marketing initiative, you should:

  • Define your goals. What do you want to get out of your contest? Do you want to drive leads, “likes,” or sales, boost engagement, or reward your existing audience?
  • Understand your audience. Who are you trying to reach? What motivates or interests them? Where do they spend their time online?
2. Choose the right social media channel.

Once you define your goals and understand where your audience spends its time, you can determine which social media channels are right for your campaign. Here are four sites to consider:

Facebook: Facebook is making it harder than ever for brands to reach and connect with fans organically — the social media platform recently changed business pages’ organic reach, ostensibly to even the playing field for small businesses. This means it may become more expensive for some brands to land on users’ News Feeds. With 1.23 billion monthly active users, however, it’s still a channel worthy of your consideration.

The businesses that find the most success on Facebook are the ones that tie their contests into their customers’ personal interests and habits. But remember that you want users to engage with your brand’s offering — not just attract lots of “likes.” This concept will truly apply to marketers in the next three months, as Facebook recently announced its decision to kill business’ ability to incentivize Facebook users with a contest prize in return for a “like.”  Although the news came to some marketers’ displeasure, this change will rid brands of empty Facebook fan bases — people who want a contest prize, but have no real interest in your regular services or products.

Take a look at this contest from Eggo, which asked participants for their best recipes using Eggo waffles. The contest promoted the brand’s waffles through tasty-looking photos, asked users to share voting links with friends, and recommended that voters try making the recipes prior to voting — a subtle call to action to attract more buyers.

Instagram: With more than 200 million users and 60 million photos uploaded daily, Instagram could be the right channel for you if you’re looking to garner unique, user-generated content. Your Instagram campaign can be as simple as asking your audience to answer a question or upload a photo with a unique hashtag.  

Instagram is particularly appealing for contests because all it asks of participants is that they click on images, which fuels brand awareness. To promote its “Untamed Americas” series, National Geographic Channel hosted an Instagram contest that asked fellow Instagrammers and explorers to submit photos that fit with the show’s theme. The prizes — cameras, a Glif, Nat Geo swag, and “Untamed Americas” DVDs — attracted exactly the demographic that the company wanted to engage with on Instagram.

Twitter: Unlike other social channels, you can have your Twitter promo up and running in minutes; with more than 575 million users, there’s potential for large-scale success. Be sure to include a unique #hashtag and @reply to effectively monitor conversations, track entries, and communicate with your audience.

Gear your efforts toward Twitter on the weekends (when engagement is 17 percent higher), make sure to use one or two hashtags (which will double your engagement), and ask for retweets (which can multiply your number of retweets up to 23 times). Over the Rainbow did a great job of seeking casual, funny entries for its “Mom Jeans” Twitter contest, asking followers to tweet the worst examples of Mom jeans — with the absolute worst example winning a makeover.

Pinterest: Companies like Anthropologie frequently host #PinToWin contests, asking consumers to upload images and create pinboards with their favorite items from the catalog. Participants need to disclose that their boards are entries in a promotion to comply with FTC guidelines.If you’d prefer to drive traffic to your domain, a contest microsite or an iFrame promotion on your website may be your best bet.

Sony did a great job of promoting its version of a “Pin It to Win It” campaign, placing a variety of its products on its “Pin It to Give It” board. Each time an item was repinned, the brand donated money to the Michael Phelps Foundation. This not only enhanced Sony’s product awareness but underscored its desire to give back, making it stand out in a sea of similarly positioned contests.

3. Use simple third-party tools.

After you choose your channel, you can then create, launch, and manage your social campaign using the following tools:

SaaS social promotions platform: The right platform will make it easy to build and share your promotion across multiple social channels as well as ensure fairness, identify brand advocates, and measure the effectiveness of your overall campaign.

Google Analytics: A free tool to help you measure the success of your promotion, Google Analytics uses specific UTM codes to examine where your traffic is coming from and track your conversions.

A unique hashtag: This encourages conversation and brand recognition and tracks engagement. Before launching your promotion, do a search on Twitter or to make sure your campaign hashtag isn’t already in use.

Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or Promoted Tweets: Once you launch, a targeted ad campaign can help raise awareness and drive traffic to your online promotion.

MailChimp: Add new leads who join through your promotion to your database to stay in touch after your contest has ended and nurture these relationships in the future.

Buffer and HootSuite: Social media dashboards allow you to share posts on multiple channels, track mentions, and actively participate in the conversation around your promotion.

By following these three steps, you can easily create and launch a fully branded social campaign that helps grow your audience, boost engagement, and provide you with the opportunity to turn a “like” into a long-lasting relationship. How have you used contests to engage customers?

Reposted from SteamFeed

Are All QR Codes Created Equal?

(Posted on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:06PM )
The QR code has had a rocky road over the past two decades. Initially developed for the automotive industry in Japan in 1994, a QR code – or quick response code – is an optic label that contains information about the item to which it is attached, and can be read by machines. It has become widely popular outside its original intended use due to its fast readability. QR codes can also contain more information than the standard barcodes used on most products.

In South Africa, QR codes have been heralded as the next great marketing tool, accused of being an overly complex piece of technology that no one wants to use, and dismissed as an unsightly and impractical addition to marketing collateral that adds little value to the marketer’s campaign or the customer’s experience thereof.

For the most part, you only really found QR codes on print advertisements and billboards in South Africa. Marketers used them as a way of drawing consumers away from printed material into a digital experience, but all too often these experiences were little more than mini-websites that were bizarrely not optimised for mobile phones. People got tired of being taken to poor digital experiences, and stopped using QR codes. Marketers soon abandoned them. Even in the US, in technologically advanced cities like San Francisco, only 11% of consumers even knew what a QR code was – and this was in 2011!

A sudden (worldwide) explosion

Over the past few months, however, you will have noticed QR codes springing up everywhere as newly launched mobile payment services gain traction among consumers. Snapscan is the most famous example and can be found at any of more than 10 000 stores and merchants countrywide, but any recent dining experience would also have exposed you to Zapper, while a trip to a vida e caffe for your morning latte would have introduced you to FlickPay. QR codes, it seems, are suddenly everywhere.

The 2014 Nielsen Mobile Wallet Report, which sourced data from nearly 4000 smartphone users who have used their phone or tablet for mobile shopping, paying or banking in the past 30 days, showed that consumers are quite comfortable with QR code based payments.

Interestingly, less than a third would pay for goods by scanning a QR code at a store, while nearly half of all respondents were comfortable to do it the other way around: by presenting a QR code on the device’s screen for the cashier to scan. This type of mobile payment is also by far the most popular, currently beating out NFC (as found in Google Wallet and Isis) and the Square model of payments, where a device is attached to a smartphone to enable credit card transactions (as Absa’s Payment Pebble and Emerge Mobile’s iKhokha do locally).

Quick maturation is the key to lasting success

So are QR codes here to stay? It all depends. QR codes can present some serious security issues that need to be addressed if they are to survive in the long term. Think about it: by scanning the code with your phone, you automatically initiate a process that could be anything. That static printed QR code at the organic farmer’s market? You might think that you’re just quickly paying for your organic free-range eggs, but a criminal may have pasted his own code over the merchant’s and all your sensitive password and mobile banking details could already be in the hands of a fraudster.

Turning the process on its head: QR codes generated ‘in-app’ on a consumer’s own handset that are then ‘read’ by a scanner at the till point actually offer an additional layer of security to the end-user, when compared to card payments in particular. Opportunities for manipulation of the code are eliminated by either the merchant or the consumer, and no personal information is handed over during the transaction.

Not only that – point-of-sale integration unlocks opportunities for additional ‘in-app’ QR code initiated services that can add even more value and convenience to the consumer’s life. Regular customer? Have a free coffee. Redeeming a coupon or voucher? Easy – just scan your QR code at the till point and enjoy the rewards.

The current generation of prevalent QR code based payment apps have created a thriving ecosystem of alternative payments that has opened consumers’ minds to the possibilities of a cashless future.

It is imperative that all stakeholders evolve their QR code -based apps and services to ensure consumers (and businesses) are as protected as possible, while still offering the most value in terms of convenience and experience. Anything less will put consumers off, and force the search for an alternative technology solution, which may take another 20 years to gain traction.

Image: Bauke Karel via Flickr.

Reposted from Memeburn

Marketing Has Changed-Get Over It

(Posted on Jul 19, 2014 at 12:45PM )
Digital Marketing has shaped the way we market as a whole and the rapid advancement of technology is changing the marketing landscape and is demanding newer ways of marketing to get your message out consistently and effectively.

But in today’s fast paced business environment of being ROI focused at all costs it is hard to see the long term benefit  marketing as a nurturing and information tool to gain and retain customers over the long term when today’s results driven bottom line engrained  corporate culture does not support it.

In other words if you can’t see past the bottom line it is hard to develop a marketing strategy that is designed solely to inform and educate consumers to bring them to you instead of pushing yourself on them.

Back in 2006 the power shift in marketing as a whole was already being talked about. Stephen F. Quinn, senior vice president for marketing at Wal-Mart Stores, stated that “Today, the customer is in charge and whoever is best at putting the customer in charge makes all the money.”

And as consumers “wrest control away from brand-management control freaks,” Russ Klein,  president for global marketing, strategy and innovation at Burger King advised his peers, “get over it,” because “turning your brand over to the consumer is taking control — and in fact, if you do, they’ll return it to you in better shape.”

Still today it is hard to see that this power shift has been or is being accepted. Is it that business has yet figured out how to do it? Is it that the brand management control freaks are still in control? Or is the shortsighted profit mentality of business still the driving force?

We all need to make a profit but whatever happened to when businesses had a longer than a monthly or quarterly plan they used as a benchmark to build their business?

William Cosgrove

How to use #Hashtags to Increase Your Online Presence

(Posted on Apr 5, 2014 at 11:18AM )
If you have ever questioned yourself on how to utilize hashtags, This infographic by Quicksprout will give you some insight on the benefits of hashtags and different ways in which to use them.

Ground Zero Could be the Key to the Future of Marketing

(Posted on Mar 18, 2014 at 04:10PM )
Technology has shaped the way we market as a whole and the rapid advancement of technology is providing us with increasingly newer ways of collecting information and getting your message out consistently and effectively.

Knowing what is best for you can often be a difficult decision to make. One clear low cost way is to utilize data that already exists in your company database and an onsite community where you can collect additional data to help you maintain a clearer picture of what your existing customers want and need as individuals and project a customer centric image to potential customers
An onsite community acts as a core social tool that can be combined and used to enhance all your marketing initiatives.  Communities act as a stable platform on your site that you control on which you can build solid marketing initiatives regardless of what is trending on social channels and will act as a magnet for organic search to draw more people to your site.

From mobile marketing to social media to organic SEO your website should be ground zero from which all your marketing emanates.

This infographic created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Masters in Business Administration program shows you more about how technology is impacting how we market.

Click to enlarge


NJIT New Jersey Institute of Technology – Online MBA

Is personalisation really worthwhile- or are marketers missing the mark?

(Posted on Mar 14, 2014 at 01:16PM )


When we walk into a shop or a restaurant we appreciate the personal touch, and being treated as an individual goes a long way. Now, with consumers spending more of their time online, marketers must take steps to maintain the “personal experience” across a brand's entire digital presence.

Building up a rapport without having the opportunity to meet face-to-face isn't easy, but there are ways to achieve it. The emergence of Big Data, for example, is allowing marketers to drill down into an incredible level of detail, and this in-depth understanding of who is visiting the website, mobile site or app, enables marketers to target customers with things that make the whole journey more relevant.

Just like being in a clothes shop and the assistant suggesting things they think you might like, thanks to Big Data, brands can offer their customers articles, adverts or products which are more relevant to them. 

When done right, personalisation is a win-win for both the customer and the brand. There is a treasure trove of information on people visiting a site that marketers can use to deliver an online experience that, much like a real-life service, is tailored to suit the customer.

This way, the consumer has a better experience through things like exclusive offers, or information on products that interest them, resulting in three key elements of loyal behaviour; willingness to buy more, reluctance to switch and likelihood to recommend. 

Time wasted? 

Personalisation has evolved very quickly. A few years ago, you’d be lucky to get a simple “welcome back” on a website, let alone a web page specific to you. By trying to transform into an integrated, multichannel business and through harnessing Big Data to learn about each online shopper, brands can now greet their customer with a site that suits them rather than just a simple “hello again”.

Nonetheless, despite the benefits to the customer of a personalised experience, our "Click Here: The State of Online Advertising" research found that just 23% of those surveyed find customisation valuable, which suggests brands still aren’t getting it right.

This is an important wake up call to brands and should make us question if it is a worthwhile practice, or if brands and marketers are simply missing the mark.

We only need to look to brands like RSA, one of the world's largest insurance companies, to know that when personalisation is done properly it works.

RSA is able to determine what kinds of services customers want and, in response, continually optimise online experiences. By capturing insights into its customers' interests and preferences, it is addressing its customers as individuals and the results speak for themselves. Conversion is up 2% and profits are up by almost £1 per sale, proving that personalisation can and will have value to the customer - as well as a huge impact on the bottom line.

The same Click Here: State of Online Advertising research found other brands doing it well include online giants Amazon, eBay and TripAdvisor, with their helpful product and page suggestions inevitably playing a big role in them being named by consumers as top brands for personalisation.

Creating demand

Online marketers clearly understand the benefits of personalisation, with 52% of those surveyed claiming that being able to effectively personalise content is central to their marketing strategy, and 71% claiming it has a big impact on ROI. 

If brands want to maximise the benefits personalisation has to offer, they need customers to not just be accepting of it but to actually demand it. It is only when individuals experience and appreciate the same personal touch online as they do in-store that a strong, two-way relationship will emerge.

The only way marketers can create this demand is to do personalisation well, and for this to happen there should be a number of considerations. First, there needs to be a seamless experience for the customer across all channels, campaigns and marketing activities. Marketers can then analyse the customer's digital journey to decipher when conversion is highest, and create the personalised experience that has the most potential to grow conversion or engagement. Timing is also key in the online marketing process, and it is important to capitalise on the customer’s interest in your products as early as possible. 

Fortunately, the technology now exists to do most of the hard work, deciding which content and offers are most relevant to the customer. But while the machines can look after most of the data and analytics, a blend of data-led and intuitive marketing often works best.

If marketers continue to improve their understanding of the individual customer, delivering what they want, when they want it, customers may join marketers in realising the real value of the "personal touch".

Tresilian Segal is head of marketing Northern Europe at Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Fear-Based Marketing: Effective or Evil?

(Posted on Mar 8, 2014 at 11:43AM )

Fear is one of our most primal emotions, instilled from infancy. When my dad said I better stop crying or he’d give me something to cry about, do you know what I did?


I shut the hell up.

Listerine adYes, our natural instinct to avoid danger or harm is a powerful motivator and influencer of behavior. Always has been, always will be.


Not surprisingly, marketers caught on to this fact decades ago, whether they were selling financial services or personal hygiene products. And while many marketers took a respectable approach, others went straight for the gutter.


For example, in this 1932 advertorial, Listerine tried to make women feel like they would end up with a dog instead of a husband because of bad breath. (Image courtesy of Duke University Libraries)


On the other hand, you’ll probably remember this legendary and hugely influential anti-drug message, which also spawned its fair share of spoofs:


The Three Basic Steps of Fear-Based Marketing

Scientific studies have been done to evaluate various approaches to fear-based marketing, but appealing to someone’s fear typically involves three steps.


1) Present a risk or threat that arouses fear. The risk or threat has to be realistic and severe enough to motivate your audience to act. This is why you need to do your research and know your audience instead of making assumptions.


2) Show how vulnerable your audience is. If you try to scare someone with sensationalistic claims, you’re being manipulative. Instead, discuss the real consequences of not acting.


3) Explain how you can protect your audience. Convince your audience that the risk reduction or threat removal is worth the effort and cost involved with using your product or service.


This is when most marketers screw up. They revert to marketing-speak, going on and on about how wonderful their product is.

A critical part of the third step is building up your audience’s self-efficacy – the belief that they’re physically, mentally and emotionally strong enough to take action. If someone feels they can’t control their fear, they won’t act.

In other words, you’re not just selling your product as the solution. You’re empowering your audience to face and overcome their fear.

Helping People Overcome Fear to Make Positive Changes

In a previous post, I discussed the power of pain point marketing. Like pain point marketing, fear-based marketing doesn’t exploit people’s desperation. It also doesn’t have to involve a life or death situation.


Are financial advisors being evil if they warn people of the consequences of failing to save for retirement?

Is a doctor being evil by telling people that drinking one can of soda per day can dramatically increase their chance of chronic illness? True, by the way, according to a recent study.


There’s a big difference between persuasion and manipulation. Fear-based marketing can be a perfectly acceptable and ethical approach to marketing, as long as it’s based in reality, and especially when you use marketing to build trust and establish yourself or your company as an authority.


When delivered powerfully yet respectfully, fear-based marketing does more than motivate people to buy products and services. It can motivate people make positive changes in their lives.

Many people tend to bury their fears and pretend they don’t exist. They allow their emotions to cloud the cold, hard facts and refuse to admit they’re afraid of anything. A fear-based marketing message can help people accept reality and face their fears.


The Verdict

Some marketers believe any negativity is poison in marketing, and tapping into someone’s fear is the equivalent of emotional blackmail.

Unfortunately, real life isn’t all pretty flowers and rainbows. Marketing should reflect real life, complete with real fears and real problems. Imagine the sense of relief someone would feel if you empower them to overcome their fear and neutralize a genuine risk or threat.


As marketers, we’re not being evil. We’re doing our job.

by Scott McKelvey



Find Your Niche

(Posted on Feb 14, 2014 at 12:37PM )
Being nimble on your feet and being able to move fast has its advantages when competing in the marketplace.

This has always been the case and reasons that one business may succeed where others do not.

By finding a niche to focus your efforts on to gain exposure you can get the attention you need to show the advantage of working with your company over another.

By highlighting an advantage of your service or product to gain that attention you open up the door to form the relationships that will make it easier to communicate all that you have to offer.

Today, online marketing provides the forum in which to get your message out to more potential clients or customers than ever before. Cutting through all the noise may seem like an impossible task but persistence and creativity can make the difference in getting noticed and making those crucial contacts necessary to move forward and be successful.

However, online marketing as important as it is in today’s business plans should just be one of the tools in your quiver to get exposure and produce leads. You must also incorporate traditional approaches like getting out and talking to people and using the telephone and get up close and personal.

There is still no substitute for physical contact to get your point across to convince potential clients of the value you can offer them. If getting out and meeting people to discuss the benefits you can bring them is not one of your strong points, find someone who has the personality and experience who has these qualities.

No one person possess all the qualities needed to run a business and make it successful and those who realize and accept this will move forward at a much faster pace and be more successful.

If you are to succeed you must use every option available to you and implement them in your business plan and figure out ways to make them work for you, be willing to experiment make mistakes learn from them and you will be on your way.

In his classic book, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Peter F. Drucker describes innovation as a delicate dance between perception and analysis. Analysis, with all its discipline, must be based on a perception of change: “This requires a willingness to say, I don’t actually know enough to analyze, but I shall find out. I’ll go out, look around, ask questions, and listen.’”

In an age of unanswerable questions, asking the right question might just be the answer.

Here is another thought to keep in mind that is good advice from a very charismatic women who you all have probably heard of Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt our 32 President,  said “ Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself. “

William Cosgrove