Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sure, it's your ad, but what's in it for me?

A good friend of mine who recently got Tivo was expounding to me on the fantastic benefits of this new technology.

“I can Tivo all the best shows like Real Housewives and Dancing with the Stars,” she gushed. “I get to watch them when I want to watch them and the best part is, I don’t have to watch the commercials!”

Say what?

“But, the commercials are the best part of watching TV,” I responded, tactfully omitting the added rebuttal of “especially considering the kinds of TV you’re watching.”

She shook her head sadly, a comment to my obvious disillusionment surrounding my profession. “Commercials suck,” she said.

As much as I hate to admit it, she has a point. And, considering that she represents a large audience of consumers that enjoy today’s scintillating TV menu of battling housewives and tangoing celebrities, her opinion counts… a lot. She thinks your message sucks.

Advertisers (and, yes, even their agencies) can sometimes lose perspective when telling their story through advertising. Common ad phrases like “We’re available 24/7 to serve you.” and “The number one choice for (insert product or service here)!” are intended to tell consumers why they should “call now.” When you break it down, though, all they’re really telling consumers is how full of ourselves we are.

It’s all about us. There’s nothing in it for them.

Engaging potential customers through advertising requires a reversed point of view. You have see things from their perspective, not yours. Marketing Consultant, Simon Sinek, illustrates how to do this effectively through his concept of “The Golden Circle.” As Sinek explains, consumers can be inspired to support (buy) a product if you stop talking about what you do and start talking about why you do it. Suddenly consumers believe in you because you talk about what's important to them.

Just think of it from the Real Housewife perspective. “What’s in it for me?”