Fear, Desire & Sad Songs: Values-marketing #2

In Day of the Ad Man: Values-marketing #1, I discussed the earlier days of “modern” advertising,
the product-centric mentality of the last century.

This time we’ll look at the Consumer-centric approach to marketing.

There are 2 ways to look at this.

  • “See a Need: Fill a Need”: Mr. Bigweld made an impression on me in the Robots movie… What, you don’t watch cartoons? It was a excellent movie! Overall, the movie was a pretty direct shot across the bow of traditional business thinking (and planned obsolescence!)… A big bad new boss: Mr. Ratchet, discontinues replacement parts and begins only selling expensive upgrades. Now, Rodney (our hero!) begins fixing older robots… they were falling apart in front of them, and causing some distress in the Robots community. He saw a need. Then the movie got all dark and they tried to kill poor Rodney…. But, when Rodney stops running for his life, wins the movie, and buckles down – he’ll probably need to shift his thinking a little… I mean, in a market with Amazon and free shipping for parts others are filling the need, cheaper.
  • The emotional roller coaster that is TV advertising: We are supposed to buy because a company makes us feel… something. Maybe they make us feel secure, maybe the message is of the amazing customer service that reduces our frustration… and so on. Advertisers can use a feeling to inspire a sale. The big ones, however have always been (imho):
    • FEAR: Home security commercials with the nice lady getting ready for an outing, she notices something out of the corner of her eye, turns to look and there’s a burglar, dark and masked, smashing the window. Scary.
    • Desire: “SEX Sells” and to a lesser degree so does Carl’s Jr. Sex is very prominent in advertising, even when it makes no sense at all. Desire can be hunger, freedom, being “hot” or smart or better… and of course, it still works, to a degree.
    • SYMPATHY! Picture sad, broken, animals… Sarah singing in that specifically empathetic note about angels appendages and… You know which one I’m talking about. It pushes my sympathy button, smashing the hell out of it repeatedly, really. Ms. McLachlan turns the channel too! They generated over $148 million in revenues in 2011 and that was after we got sick of it.

Many companies may face a messaging crisis in the new era if they don’t upgrade their thinking… With social media and the internet information is freely & quickly shared. Stories of organizations being deceptive in their messaging, or “pink slime”-type scenarios, are common. We’ve lost a lot of faith in big business.

Sure, sex still sells, but if we don’t hedge our messages against something more substantial, in this new era, people will tune out.

Instead of ONLY asking the old questions:

“What are the needs of the market” or

“How can we use emotions (to connect)?”

We should also ask these kinds of questions:

“What’s important to me and my organization?” and

“Where does that intersect our client’s values, our families, and our communities?”

Keith Farrazi in his book: ‘Never Eat Alone’ says that building success in business is all about building relationships. He says never to keep score and always help another human if you can. This idea of values-driven marketing takes it a step further and drives a business entity to connect with its clients. Those clients will want to bring business to those who earn it. They will want to help.

Remember the banana and that bit about perceived value? We’re still going to talk about that a little more. See the next post Marketing to Humans: Values-marketing #3.

Arby’s makes me crazy. Those commercials late at night, when they are closed… they make me want to go and grab a sandwich. Do you have an example of an effective consumer-centric ad?

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