Marketing – Wizard of Oz Style

This article is fantastic! It starts off talking about how people are now familiar with many marketing tricks, so it is time to try something new.

Well, you may not have been aware of it, but you too have been exposed. Today's business reality is that we are no longer marketing wizards.

Yup… the jig is up! The audience knows how we do all of our tricks.

It certainly has been a heck of a ride, though, hasn't it? We've had our names up in lights as the Wizards of Marketing for the past 50 years!

So what does author Tom Asacker suggest we do? Satisfy customers. Give them what they want. Give them what they need.

Simple! Do what the Wizard of Oz ultimately had to do. Give them what they believe they are missing—the virtues that they desire (but remember that each audience is different, and motives that are appropriately appealed to in one situation may be ineffective in another):

A heart. Like the Tin Man, most people want to do what they consider the "right thing." They want to help others and participate in a worthy cause. Doing so makes them feel good about themselves. Companies like The Body Shop, Ben & Jerry's, and IKEA, to name a few, promote and support causes that their audience's employees and customers' can connect with… with their heart. This altruistic bond enhances loyalty to the feelings that these brands evoke. Want this kind of bond? Give them the feel-good emotions that they desire.

A brain. Never underestimate your audience's motivation to "get a deal." Sure, some of it is motivated by people's desire for financial gain. But I've witnessed the nouveau riches using coupons and racking up frequent flyer miles. Why would Ivanna Trump shop at Wal-Mart? Because getting a deal makes her feel good about her logical, deal-making self. However, to get these "Scarecrows" to remain loyal to you, you must "buy" them for whatever period you want them to remain loyal. Remember… your audience is loyal to the feelings they get from the "deal." They are not loyal to you!

The nerve. Most people are motivated (like the Cowardly Lion) to avoid fear. Fear of the loss of things desired, such as love, attractiveness, health, etc. Fear of rejection, failure, the unknown, the uncertain, the unpredictable. In addition, your audience has a strong desire to eliminate the fear of future suffering. The fear of wasting time. The fear of wasting money. The fear of being wrong. The fear of looking foolish. The fear of flying monkeys. Fear. Fear. Fear. You can appeal to these "Lions" by taking all of the risk out of their decision making and placing it squarely (and strategically) back on your business. How? Assurance… in whatever forms you can think of: money-back and "make it right" guarantees; free shipping, installation and support; no-risk test-drives; audience-appropriate emotional advertising; and so on. But, when all is said and done, if even a hint of doubt remains about your offering, your audience will go somewhere that eliminates that doubt. Because they are not loyal to you. It's the feelings! Remember?

A home. People are strongly motivated to belong. To have a place where everybody knows their name (or, at least, how they feel). This feeling of "affiliation" has been mastered by companies such as Harley-Davidson, Oprah, Starbucks and Apple, not to mention many emerging online communities. When I snap up the leather, hop on my Harley, and click my boots three times, I am transformed. I feel like a member of a special tribe. It's not about horsepower and gas mileage; it's about… feelings! A Harley executive was quoted as saying, "What we sell is the ability for a 43-year-old accountant to dress in black leather, ride through small towns and have people be afraid of him." Forget altruism, forget deals, forget fear. This is about identity. There is no stronger bond.

I've said many times before that running a company is not about ripping people off, it's not about selling people things they don't want or don't need, it's about about providing real value to the customer. If you have to manipulate your customer to make a sale, you shouldn't be in business. More of Tom's writing can be found at SandBox Wisdom.

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