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The Most Important Marketing Tip Ever

I've been thinking about what all of the people reading this really want to find out. What piece of information would make your eyes light up and your heart race a little bit if you found it typed out in this message?

I decided that what most people would want to find out if they could only strip one idea out of my brain, ask one single question, it would be this:

How do you make people respond and buy?

Listen, if that wasn't the one thing you wanted to hear, I'm awfully sorry - but I'm going to go on with it anyway.

I think about this question every day. Every hour. I dream about it. I can scarcely think of a moment in which I don't marvel at the influence process - and the reasons people response to some ads and some offer and buy some products - but completely ignore others.

If you took a poll of most big-wig advertising folks, most graphics people, most media reps, most writers, and most creative types you could get myriad answers.

You may hear things like:

  • compelling layout using effective eye draw
  • image
  • brand positioning
  • repetition/frequency
  • cleverness
  • uniqueness
  • cut through the clutter
  • gross rating points
  • production quality
  • media buy
  • budget
  • focus groups

I could probably think of another 100 highfalutin nonsense mean-nothing words if I thought about it for another 15 seconds, but I won't waste my time or yours.

The truth is - and it's simple - disgustingly so - but I witness it over and over every day - people respond to and buy the THINGS THEY WANT.

If you want more people to respond to your offer or ad, or you want to close more deals, start giving people what they want - and stop trying to force feed them things you want them to have.

When I first realized this fact, I asked myself, "self, does that mean that a person selling something that people don't really want is doomed?" And I thought, "If the only way to make people buy is to give them what they want, what is the point of marketing? And why does someone need marketing? If it's a simple as that, then doesn't the marketing process start and stop at the product development stage?"

Well, short answer is NO.

I suppose for some products/services marketing isn't important. For instance, if you operate a pay water fountain in the desert, you probably don't need to run too many ads. Ice cream trucks in the summer don't rely too much on marketing. Why? Right offer at the right time at the right place. Little kid, sweatin' his butt off, got 50 cents burning a hole in his pocket - and up comes the roach coach. The kid can hardly keep his clothes on - he's dying to trade in his 5 bits for a snowcone. It's a nobrainer!!!

So what about people selling boring old stuff like toner cartridges, mortgages, financial products, etc? Should they sell their businesses and buy a water fountain? No.

This is where the marketing comes in. Effective marketing focuses first on creating appeals - otherwise known as a reason to give a hoot.

Quite frankly, this is what is missing from most marketing. A unique appeal.

So to answer your question, my friend...How do you make people respond and buy?

You simply give them what they want. And if what you sell ain't it - you need think of how you can connect what you've got with what they want.

The pizza joint with the cool cars (discussed in a very recent entry) is a prime example of this.

I recommend you make a list a mile long of positive results your information or product or service offers. Then make another list of what it is your prospects want. Can you connect any items from one list to any items on the other?

I'd like to share a specific example that just occurred this week. One of our consulting clients is new start up church in east Orlando. We quickly agreed that church wasn't exactly what most people wanted. Plus, most people who did want church already had one - and they didn't really want to steal members from other churches. The want to get non church goers to give it a try.

Sound tough?

Here's the solution. They have created a kid's themed, nickelodeon style show that has positive, Christian-based, family-oriented messages. We're offering free tickets to this exciting show to parents and children in the area. Do parents and kids want free tickets to shows? (Yes, we told them clearly it was Christian-based).

Let me explain the results this way: there were 300 tickets available for the first show. Their first marketing attempt at a community event this past weekend landed them 800+ ticket requests  in just a few hours. All because they offered people what they wanted. Imagine how many RSVPs they would have gotten to church service at the same event. I'll bet we can count them on our own hands.

You see people respond in a HUGE WAY when you just present them with what they want.

I know this sounds simple - but this is sort of where the hard work comes in. My best advice is this: guess and check. Think of an appeal for your product and test it. Did it work? Yes or no. If yes, ride it hard. If no, try something else. It is the only way.

Oh, and for those people who would have suggested design or media buys or slogans or brand/image as the method to get people to respond ~ I hope I was able to open your eyes a bit with this message. Those things are all ancillary to the real purpose - which is to get people to open their wallets and ask you to take their money!