It’s no secret that we live in frenetic times. On any given day at any given time a person’s mind might be struggling to keep up with the mountain of things they have to do. From the moment the alarm goes off in the morning until the minute their head finally hits the pillow at night, their mind is racing to keep it all straight.
As they sprint through their day they are assaulted with marketing messages at every turn — on TV, on the radio, on the highway, at the food store, on the Internet and more.
So what does this all mean? It is your job as a marketer to try to get a very busy person who is barely paying attention to not only hear you, but listen to you. A daunting task, especially if you don’t have a large marketing budget. Here are a few tips to help you break through the craziness and stand out:
Figure out what makes you different
First you have to check out what your competition is doing and then figure out how you are different.
Let’s take a look at the toothpaste category. I recently decided to switch toothpaste. Not because my toothpaste didn’t work, but because the container always seemed to leak. While grocery food shopping, I made a pit stop in the toothpaste aisle. There were shelves upon shelves of toothpaste containers — all with labels screaming at me. “Pick me – I’ll make your breath fresh!” “Pick me – I’ll whiten your teeth!” “Hey – I’ve got tartar protection.” It was overwhelming! I didn’t have time to figure it out so I bought the same old brand. While the explosion of choices in this particular category is overpowering, each product is searching for a unique point of differentiation to stand out.
Check out your competition and find out what makes you different. If you can’t come up with something that you do differently, take a look at how the competition is talking to the audience. What are they not talking about? Perhaps that is your opportunity. I’m sure that many of the toothpaste brands in the example above offer many of the same benefits. But each one is trying to claim one little thing that the others don’t.
Fill a human need
You also have to select a point of differentiation that matters to your target audience. For example, if you make green widgets and everyone else’s widgets are blue …make sure the audience cares about the color of widgets before you start telling them to buy your green ones. If no one cares, it’s not an important point of differentiation.
Figuring out your point of differentiation is the hardest part. It has to fill a human need. How will your product make your target audience better? Will they be smarter, happier, wealthier, prettier or more successful?
Once you know what makes your product or service different, it’s time to craft your message. We’ve all heard of “Keep It Simple Stupid.” I propose “Keep It Short and Simple Stupid.” Remember that busy person racing through their day who could care less about what you have to say? You have to get in and out with a quick message about how you are going to solve one of their problems or improve their life. Resist the urge to stuff twenty pounds of information into a one-pound bag. The bag will break and the communication will be lost on your audience. Stay focused on your single message. This is actually more difficult than it seems. As marketers we are often so passionate and excited about our products and services that we could talk to people all day long about it. That’s why you see, or rather gloss over, so many ads with copy that never ends.
Sometimes I hear a song several times on the radio without really paying attention to it. But after several exposures I’ll tune in, listen to the words and like the song enough to go home and download it to my iPad. The same holds true for advertising and marketing. Ad frequency is important. Once you know what you want to say, keep saying it. Over and over and over again. There are different estimates about how many times a person needs to hear or see your message before it sinks in, but very likely they will need to read, hear or see your message many times before they act.
Give your audience a simple message that communicates how you will help them and you have a better shot at breaking through the chaos of their day, especially if you support it with an effective media plan.