In Most Cases, It’s Not What You Say… It’s What You Don’t Say That Really Matters. The above statement really goes against almost everything I learned and was taught as a student studying Marketing… however, to me, it speaks volumes as a golden rule – after practicing my trade of advertising, marketing, and communicating for over 30 years. So let’s get a little dry for a moment and academically define “MARKETING”
Basically, we view marketing as a range of projects, messages and ventures all involved in making sure that we meet the needs of our targeted customers and/or clients… and, that we are getting a positive response and value in return. So, in order to achieve this goal, we spend an incredible amount of time, energy, research, and money trying to determine (1) what their needs are… (2) what we need to do in order to meet those needs… (3) what the customers’ preferences are… (4) what the competitors are doing… and (5) what pricing, promotions, or sales should we use.
So what is it that we are really saying? We’re saying that we want to get our targeted market (plainly known as people) to react in a positive and more advantageous way toward our marketing goals (plainly said… getting the people to do what we want them to do). Well, a big part of achieving this goal is to not give out all the information you possess, but to discriminately and purposefully disseminate the right amount of information, in the correct manner, in order to entice those you want to react to your message. Essentially, what we want our market to do is to “buy into” what we are saying, and most importantly, what we are “promising” (and I can’t stress this strongly enough).
And how do we achieve this? Well it’s quite uncomplicated. By communicating! Yes, it is relatively simple to communicate, however, it is extremely hard and complicated to communicate effectively. So what is this communication we speak of ? (Here’s where we get a bit dry again.)
Communication is a process whereby information is dispersed by a sender, to a receiver, via a medium. The receiver decodes the message and reacts by giving the sender feedback. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, as I said before, it’s hard to communicate effectively, and here’s why:
Communication requires that all parties have an area of communicative commonality. And there are various and diverse means, such as: interpretation of words (language), tone of message, innuendoes, intonations, body language, eye contact, gender, sexuality, and a myriad of other techniques.
So, how can we communicate effectively? Well as I said previously… positive, responsive, marketing communication isn’t easy, nevertheless here’s some insight on how to do it correctly.
(1) Make only positive and unchallenging promises! Again, “it’s not what you say” but how the receiver of your advertisement perceives the message, that counts. Give only a few strong positive and compelling facts – and utilize overtones, undertones, and inclinations. Why be so evasive, you might ask. Well, if you give out all the facts, all the details, even all the costs, and prices, etc. then what you are really doing, saying, and asking (communicating to) your potential customer is: here are all the facts… why not (A) make your decision now – since you have all the information you need to make a decision, or (B) why not take this advertisement to my competitor and ask them if they can do better than my published deal – since you possess all the information and facts needed for them to make a better deal with you.
(2) Allow the receiver of your advertisement to “fill in the blanks.” If you insinuate and promise only positive details… the reader will use their own thoughts, beliefs and presumptions to fill in the blanks. A perfect example: We have all had the experience of someone describing a “blind date” to us. She or he is this, and this, and so tall, and has such a wonderful personality, and so witty, etc., etc. We take in the information and in our mind we visualize (fill in the blanks) with our own – usually positive imagery. And that’s the key! Allow the receiver to imagine “it” with their own preferences, hopes and desires. They will subconsciously persuade themselves that your product, service, space or whatever, is what they are looking for. They will then react to you.
“Want to get your message across?” Creativity matters now, more than ever! Therefore, it better be good or you’re just wasting your time, energy, and money!
(3) First impressions are everything! Rule #1 is to create an ad, a direct mail piece, a web site, etc. that will stop a person and make them look at the piece! Same old – same old doesn’t fly anymore. With the amount and rate of information reaching every audience in today’s instantaneous world … “creativity” matters now, more than ever!
Therefore, it better be good or you’re just wasting your time, energy, and money. Secondly, and equally important, is to make that first impression subliminally upbeat, and positive. If the receiver feels good, and smiles (remember body language is important) by looking at your piece – then there is a better-than-average chance that they will also take in your message as agreeable and trustworthy – without challenging it. This works effectively, if you make your intent subliminally. In other words, we did not ask or challenge the viewer to think or to make a decision about what we are implying… all we did was to supply visual and emotional suggestions, that are subconsciously interpreted… resulting in a pleasing, good spirited, untroubled and positive, responsive feeling towards our message. It’s easy… I do it every day.