Not getting the results from your marketing efforts that you’d like to see? Perhaps you’re suffering from “riddle me this” advertising.
Tom Wanek, here, and you’re watching Wizard Marketing TV, where business owners learn persuasive tools and techniques to spark miraculous growth.
Keep watching, and I’ll give you four words that’ll forever change how you view your marketing. I’ll see YOU on the inside.
Many people consider Steve Krug’s book, Don’t Make Me Think, to be the bible of web usability. I agree. I read it back in 2001, and loved it.
Funny thing is, you almost don’t even need to read the book. The title says it all.
Now, although Krug’s book is about web usability, its mantra is something every marketer should engrave on their heart: Don’t make me think.
See, one of the most common mistakes in advertising is crafting vague and obscure messages. Some marketers treat their advertising like it’s some kind of enchanting treasure hunt. The ability to purchase from the advertiser is the customer’s reward for solving the riddle.
Can you imagine that? I can’t. That’s what you call wishful thinking.
Just ask J.C. Penney.
In January of 2012, J.C.Penney unveiled its plan to replace the company’s high-low pricing structure with a confusing three-tier pricing strategy, which urged customers to “do the math.”
But J.C. Penney learned that customers don’t want to do math. So six months later, the company abandoned its new pricing strategy for a more simplified one.
Around the same time of J.C. Penney’s pricing debacle … Yuengling’s new advertising campaign urged beer drinkers to “rethink your light beer.”
But you would never know this by looking at the company’s billboards.
Although these billboards nicely contrasted Yuengling’s dark amber-colored light beer with three other light-colored, watered-down suds, there was no clear message or identity linking the advertisement to the brand. The company’s message contained only a single word, “Think.”
Again, customer’s don’t wanna think about your advertising.
It’s not that your customer is unintelligent or incapable of thinking for themselves. They simply don’t have the bandwidth or desire to figure out your message or offer. That’s the advertiser’s job … that’s your job.
Frankly, the whole vague and lackadaisical “let the customer interpret the meaning of our marketing message” approach leaves me feeling queasy.
Hell. That’s just bad marketing. Not to mention, a complete waste of money.
Maybe J.C. Penney, Yuengling and the other corporate “big boys” can play games by sending vague and obscure messages, but you don’t have time for such shenanigans. In fact, I’ve never met a Main Street business owner who does.
Sure, good advertising should surprise a little … it should be new, exciting and different. Heck—no one says your marketing has to be boring. In fact, to be successful, your audience must find your advertising to be interesting.
But clarity is the new creativity. And you can NOT sacrifice the clarity of your message just to be cute and clever.
Advertising is a fragile business. Success is elusive. Moving the needle is damn hard work. Expensive too.
Remember, your primary job is to persuade. And the way I see it, no customer wants to agonize over ANY buying decision.
Think about that for a moment.
Your customer is confronted by more than 5,000 selling messages each day, does she really want to guess about the meaning of your message? And do you really want to take the chance that your message will be misinterpreted?
Help your customer to buy from you with a marketing message that’s clear and compelling. Don’t take any chances. Clobber ‘em over the head with it.
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