Once, while trying to solicit some business, a Copywriter/Creative Director looked at my portfolio and said, "You're not a poet." While I understood his meaning, I've always tried to emphasize performance over poetry in my work. (Plus, you rarely see Maya Angelou schlepping Hefty Trash Bags.) Thus, "You're not a poet" became both a badge of honor and a rallying cry. So, what follows are random thoughts on advertising, alarming alliteration, a plethora of punditry, and absolutely no poetry!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
What You Can Learn From A Bottle Opener
When I was but a wee non-poet, my Mom would take me along to visit her Aunt Jo (my Great Aunt). Though it seems like we went over there all the time, it was probably once a week at best and, since my older brothers were busy doing whatever they were doing, I usually had to go with my Mom. While spending time with a widow in her 70's wasn't my idea of fun when I was a golf-obsessed kid, Aunt Jo had a cool backyard with lots of things to keep me occupied and, every now and again, I'd stumble onto something golf-related in the house or garage that belonged to her late husband, my Great Uncle Ray. When she passed away, I remember going to her house with my Mom to help one of Aunt Jo's daughters clear out her things, and it was then I came upon the bottle opener pictured above.
A bottle opener with a golf ball for a handle! I thought that was the coolest thing I'd ever seen, and so did all my friends. However, after the newness wore off, I found at that age, I didn't have many bottles that needed opening and so, into a drawer it went. Every now and again, it would make occasional forays out of the drawer when I'd stumble upon it while looking for something else, though I would usually just twirl it around my finger or enjoy the way it felt in my hand. That is, until I got old enough to drink beer (which I didn't start until I was of legal drinking age and aware of what drinking responsibly meant, oh yes I did! And no Dad, I did not get into your vodka while you were and Mom were out! It's 3/4 full, just like it was last night, see?…Well, how should I know why it tastes watery? Maybe there was condensation or maybe you just used too much ice! Oh yeah? Well you can't ground me cause I'm 46!). Suddenly I could use my golf ball bottle opener for its' intended purpose and, compared to all my friends, I had a cool and unique bottle opener that no one else had.
To this day, I still have that bottle opener, meaning it's something I've owned and carried around with me for coming on 40 years. I like the way it feels in my hand (I freely admit that, when it comes to the tactile sense for me, form often triumphs over function) and I consider it my little piece of family history. That it belonged to my Great Uncle Ray, who helped my Dad secure the job where he would work for 46 years until his retirement and who also taught my oldest brother Ray (his namesake) to play golf, only strengthens my attachment to this little piece of steel and rubber.
So, what does my odd emotional attachment with a bottle opener have to do with your marketing and advertising? The answer is, making an connection, like I have with my beloved bottle opener, is what you should strive for with your marketing efforts.
If you're unsure if your advertising is connecting, ask yourself these questions: What do you think will resonate more with a consumer: an ad spewing features or a message they can connect and identify with? Is your goal to sell or to connect? Do your Twitter and Facebook posts create interaction with your customers, or are you simply using them as another outlet to send out a sales message? Do your marketing messages show the solutions you offer or just sell your product?
Fortunately, marketing that makes a connection isn't that difficult. Talk to your customers. Use your marketing and advertising as a means to show solutions, not push product. Interact and build relationships through your social media. Post blog entries that pull the curtain back on your business. Remember that one ad may not make a connection with your target audience, but a balanced marketing program that makes multiple impressions with your customers, will.
Once you engage your consumers, your marketing job becomes that much easier. And, remember, if your marketing and advertising isn't making a connection with your customers and your sales aren't flowing, maybe you just need a new bottle opener...
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