This is it… the fifth of a five-part Brand Like a Rock Star look at why your marketing doesn’t work. Part one, part two, part three, and part four are all archived to read and share with other entrepreneurs or marketers.
Far too much marketing today is filled with cliches, boasts, and unsubstantiated claims. Hype is dead, but marketers cling to it every day.
Axl Rose learned the hard way. Guns ’N Roses started working on Chinese Democracy nearly 20 years ago. As production went on year after year, Axl defended the delays by bragging about just how incredible this album was going to be. As the budget went up and up, and it turned into the most expensive album ever made, Axl continued to boast about the legendary record he was making.
When Chinese Democracy finally came out in 2008, it was destined to fail. Expectations had been raised so high that the world saw through it, and decided en masse long in advance that the album sucked.
In reality, it got decent reviews. It wasn’t an awful album at all. But it will be remembered as a failure because at was backed with hype and BS.
Do you advertise that you have ”the highest quality at the lowest prices”?
Your customer thinks you are lying. And you are, because it is impossible to have both the very best quality and the very lowest prices. Everyone knows it. Fact of life. We are actually willing to pay more for good quality, but you are too caught up in your phony claims to realize it, so you stick to spewing out unsubstantiated hype… because that’s the advertising method you know.
If you are going to make wild claims in your ads, back the claims up with evidence. Lowest prices? Prove it. Highest quality? Show me.
Better yet, stop worrying about hype and focus on the customer experience. How does my life change when I use your product? What do I feel? Apple aggressively marketed the iPad without hype. This video has been seen nearly 300,000 times in the week since it was first released, and it contains no hype at all… just valid claims.
These powerful ads for the iPhone4′s Facetime program don’t hype a thing. They sell an experience and an emotional connection between the customer and the product. Simple.
It takes guts to recognize that much of what you are saying in your advertising is being ignored, but the sooner you realize it the sooner you can move on and start to make your marketing really work.
When marketing works, it is magical. People really do react to smart marketing. The results rock. You’ll love it.
Finally, to drive home the anti-hype message here is an open letter to noisy advertisers from potential customers. This was an earlier post on Brand Like A Rock Star that received plenty of interest:
I saw/heard/read your ad on the TV/radio/paper, and would like to remind you of a few things.
1. Stop bragging. You don’t have the best staff. Sure, you might have great people, and if you do please tell me why it matters to me and how it will benefit my customer experience. But don’t just tell me “our people make the difference”. I are pretty sure there are some bozos that work at your place, just like the ones that work with me.
2. If you have “lots of free parking”, it only matters if you are located in an area with no parking. Otherwise, it is just noise and hype and nobody cares. If your product is that amazing, I won’t get all worked up about dropping a few quarters in a meter. I once paid $40 to park at Fenway because the Red Sox are THAT amazing. Really, if “free parking” is going to make the difference, you aren’t that amazing.
3. Telling me that you “need to move 100 cars by the end of the month” means nothing. I don’t care about the pressure you might be under to sell cars. I don’t even believe you are actually under any real pressure, because every car dealer says the same BS every month. Noise. Ignored. Besides, I don’t walk into your dealership and scream “I need to make nine mortgage payments and put braces on my kid by December” and expect you to give a sh*t.
4. Yelling in your ads is stupid. I either turn the channel, change radio stations, or hit “forward” on the PVR. The only people who yell at me in real life are angry. Yelling doesn’t convey urgency, it conveys idiocy. Or intoxication.
5. The more you hype something up, the less likely I am to believe you. People who have to brag about how cool they are, usually aren’t. I’ve known that since high school, so why haven’t you figured it out yet?
The strangest part is that when you do take the time to connect with me on an emotional level, I stop avoiding your advertising and start to seek it out. Your marketing message stops being marketing and becomes valuable information. Isn’t that cool?
PS – part of the inspiration for this series came from Roy H. Williams piece “12 Causes of Advertising Failure”, which is included in his book “The Wizard of Ads: Turning Words Into Magic and Dreamers Into Millionaires”. Smart marketers are into Roy’s stuff.
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