Campaigns that move people and four ways to move them

In the developed world, people are bombarded with messages every single day: messages to buy more, eat less, look more attractive, earn more, be happier.

The cynical view of marketing says that it exists in order to make people buy things they never needed. But that's not what I believe marketing is for. And if you're a business trying to sell a product or service, that's not what you should be using marketing for either.

People do need certain things in their lives and they need clues to help them make their choices. If you're choosing fruit you will look for sensory clues: does it look ripe; does it feel ripe and smell ripe. You'll look for visual clues: does the label reinforce what I can sense, is the fruit what I think it is; is it displayed nicely in a clean environment. And you'll seek out facts: what's the price; where did the fruit come from and so on.

The information you can get about the fruit is important in helping you make a good choice and having a nice piece of fruit to eat.

But what if you can't touch, see or smell something? How do you make your choice then? You have to rely on all the other clues. So suddenly the facts, the display and environment, the price, the information all become much more important.

'Moving people' in this sense means giving them all the information they need to be able to make choices. It doesn't matter too much if the choice you're presenting them with is whether to stop smoking or whether to buy a new car, they need clues first.

Marketing campaigns are about putting those clues together in ways that make sense to the people who already need or want your product or service. I'm going to assume you already know your customer (if not, get to know them and fast) and you know how your product can help solve problems for them. So, to build on that, here are my four clues vital to any marketing campaign:

  1. Understand and clearly articulate the benefits of your product. How will it make life better for your customer? Effective copywriting is a hugely skilled job so if you're not a whizz with words, get an expert in.
  2. Get your price right. At the risk of teaching you to suck eggs, this does not mean make it the cheapest. The price is an important clue for people. If they expect to pay a lot for something they will not trust it if it seems too cheap.
  3. Look at how the product is presented to the customer. Where do they interact with your product? Does the environment support the purchase? If you are selling high-end precision engineered components is your factory floor clean enough to eat off?
  4. Lastly, take your product to your customer, don't expect them to come and find you. Assuming we are not actually selling apples and pears here, the proactive promotion of your product to the right customers is your first and most important clue. Unless they know you're there, how can they possibly be expected to buy from you?

If you do this right, you are helping someone buy something they genuinely need that will actually improve their life.  They will be thankful for all the help you gave them in coming to a decision, even if they are just buying an apple.

The astute amongst you will recognise that quick lesson in marketing strategy. If you've got it down pat then great. If, like most companies, you could do with a little help, contact us to talk about how we can help move people for you.