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Today's Marketing Cookie - Selling Hope
"We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes."
Today's fortune came from Andrew Davis of Charlestown, MA. Drew, as his friends call him, is the Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder of TippingPoint Labs, where he helps his clients understand and harness the power of the digital revolution. Yesterday, Drew sent me a snippet of his newest book where he FEATURED Today's Marketing Cookie! The book is titled, "Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships", which will be on store shelves by September 1, 2012. Cookie fans can order a pre-release copy of Drew's book for $15 each.
Today's Marketing Cookie is about choosing to sell on fear or hope.
One common tactic often used by marketers is fear. One of the first lessons a marketer learns as they gain experience is that people buy products and services for only two reasons. The first is to get pleasure, and the second is to avoid pain. The challenge for marketers is to understand which one of the two will be the most effective for selling their product or service.
When you are Zappos selling shoes to women, or Chuck E. Cheese selling parties to kids, it is pretty easy to sell on pleasure, happiness, and smiles. However, you might be surprised to learn that fear, as a general emotion, is more powerful and motivating than selling products on pleasure. Going on a vacation to Disney World may be something that the family really wants to do, but that trip won't be the highest priority when compared to items we choose buy out of the fear of having pain.
Home security companies sell more products when they show a home being robbed or a woman alone in the house being attacked by a thug. That my friends is called selling on fear and it is very effective.
A life insurance company may show a widow and children mourning by a grave site with a caption that reads, "Don't leave your family empty handed". This uses fear to sell insurance, and it works.
We've all seen the anti-smoking commercials with people who have lost their teeth, hair and their voice due to a long-term smoking habit. It is jarring for the viewer and generates tremendous fear to keep people from smoking, and it is quite memorable.
Whether it is the mangled car placed on the front lawn of the high school to remind kids of what can happen when driving drunk, or the commercials showing the paralyzed teenager that sent a TEXT message while driving, these are all successful marketing campaigns that sell on fear, and they are extremely powerful!
We are in the midst of an emotionally charged and politically divisive presidential election season. Both sides are calling names, making accusations and using fear to dissuade voters from supporting the opposition. It's ugly, and many people by now probably have fear fatigue, but this is how it always goes during a Presidential election year... except for in 2008. Something happened during the last Presidential election that was unlike ever before.
When Hillary Clinton was running against Barak Obama in the primaries, she tried to use fear by saying, "Who would you want to take the call at two o'clock in the morning?" Mrs. Clinton tried to use fear by suggesting that Obama would be ill equipped to handle an emergency. The tactic made perfect sense, because selling fear is how we elect our Presidents in America. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama continued forward with one word, "Hope". He eventually won the nomination and sold "Hope" to voters all the way to the white house.
It may be the only Presidential campaign I will ever see in my lifetime, where a candidate won, not by selling fear like everyone else has done for the last two hundred years, but rather won by selling hope. While fear is probably more powerful, you may find as a marketing professional, that hope is more meaningful.