One day a few months ago, I emptied my mailbox after being away for several days.
Because I give regularly to charities, I seem to be on the mailing lists of every organization in the world. So there were plenty of solicitations to sort through.
Usually I toss most of the envelopes I receive, the ones with generic messages on them like “help us today” or “give to save the… [insert ‘children’, ‘animals’, or ‘forests’ here]”.
But one envelope caught my eye. It was an unusual beige color, it had a picture of a cute little dog on it, and it said in bold letters, “Don’t let what happened to Coco happen again.”
Because I was curious who Coco was and what happened to him, I opened the envelope.
The letter told a true story of animal abuse so horrific that I burst into tears for that poor little dog. It ended by explaining how I could help prevent this from happening to other animals by donating to their organization.
I can tell you I never whipped out my checkbook so fast in my life.
But why this time?
Why had I ignored all the other mailings that simply asked for my help?
Because this one made me FEEL.
It told me a shocking true story. It struck a deep nerve in me that brought out my rage regarding this topic. Suddenly it was personal, because it touched on my pain.
You see, all marketing plays on either pleasure or pain.
It seems to me that most marketing plays on pleasure. For example, cosmetic companies show women how gorgeous and young we could look if we only used their products. Car companies show us how sexy and powerful we’d feel if we buy that sports car we can’t afford. And beer companies convince men that they’ll magically attract gorgeous females if they only drink a certain beverage.
Sometimes “Pain” Works Better
Some businesses will do BETTER by marketing to people’s pain. For example, a TV commercial for a financial planning service shows a couple arguing over money while their children listen from the other room, looking scared. An acne medication ad shows a teenage girl staying home from the prom, crying because she’s got a few pimples.
And if you think about it, most of us don’t take action on things until we feel pain. For example, a friend of mine didn’t take control of his finances until he was nearly bankrupt. And a couple I know didn’t hire a marriage counselor until they were ready to split for good. My sister didn’t look for a better job until she couldn’t stand the one she was in anymore.
So, follow along with me here…
Are your prospects more likely to actually buy your product or hire you based on wanting pleasure … or to move AWAY from their pain?
For example, a dating coach may have more success in her marketing with statements like, “Are you sick and tired of sitting home lonely on Friday nights? Attracting the wrong men for you again and again? The clock is ticking – have you met Mr. Right yet?”
The idea is to touch on people’s pain, then show them that you’re the solution.
Another example is an auto repair shop that marketed a free report, “10 Ways Not to Get Ripped-Off Next Time You Get Your Car Fixed”. Not only did that touch on most folks’ fear of getting ripped off, but it also positioned them as an authority on the subject!
For those of us who are naturally positive people, marketing to others’ pain may seem initially uncomfortable. But you’re doing them a favor! By helping them realize what’s wrong in their lives, their businesses, or the world, you’re also showing them how they can fix it. You’re actually helping them “see the light”.
Marketing to people’s pain can make for dramatic results when done right.
What State of Mind Are YOUR Prospects In?
Think about your target market right now. What state of mind are they in when they are considering hiring you or buying your product? Are they more likely to take action to gain pleasure? Or to make the pain they’re in go away?
If the answer is different than what you’ve been doing, try changing the angle of your marketing for a while.
You may find that a little pain is the best thing that ever happened to your business. : )
© 2003-2009 Alexandria Brown International Inc.
Self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur Ali Brown is devoted to creating financial freedom for women globally through the power of entrepreneurship. To learn how to create wealth and live an extraordinary life now, register for her free weekly articles at www.AliBrown.com