I just received an email touting the value of putting logos on merchandise. It claimed that a cap receives 3,136 impressions over its lifetime.
My first question: So what?
My next questions: Did it sell anything? Did it change anyone’s beliefs about the product whose logo is on the cap?
We live in a very crowded, busy, noisy marketplace, in which the average American is bombarded with 5,000 marketing messages everyday. As consumers, we have learned to tune out most of this noise, with the result that we don’t notice most marketing messages that companies send our way. How many ball cap logos do you remember from this past Fourth of July weekend? I’m sure you saw many, and I’m sure you don’t remember most of them.
This phenomenon doesn’t just exist with ball caps. How many people created memorable, motivating impressions of you at the last networking event you attended? How many solicitation emails from this morning’s inbox motivated you to click to the website? How much mail did you toss into the recycling bin at home last night?
It’s really hard for a business to get on your radar. You’re just too busy and have too many other things to think about.
Similarly, it’s hard for you to get on the radars of the people you need to connect with. Whether it is your customers, colleagues, co-workers, bankers or bosses, there are many people whose attention you need so you can motivate them to do things that will help you. And it isn’t easy.
Here are a three important principles of getting on someone’s radar in our noisy world:
Don’t Confuse Awareness with Meaning
Sure, it’s nice if someone knows your name or recognizes your logo. But awareness doesn’t cause a customer to buy from you or a co-worker to agree to cooperate with your new initiative. People are motivated by their beliefs, and it takes rich thoughts and beliefs to inspire someone to respond positively to your message when they have thousands of other options for things they can do with their time.
Go Deep, Not Wide
No matter what persuasive message you are trying to communicate, your resources are limited. You can only talk to so many people.
One of the most common marketing mistakes is being “a mile wide and an inch deep.” If you spread your resources widely, trying to reach too many people, you will not make a meaningful impression on any of them.
Salespeople often make this mistake, making cursory contact with many prospects, instead of focusing their precious time on creating deeper connections with the most promising future customers.
Launch Dialogue, Not Missiles
I avoid using the word “target” when talking about customers. This unfortunate term leads us to believe that our goal is to launch a message “at” people, assuming that a successful strike leads to an inspired customer.
For most persuasive communications, the goal of an initial message should not be to make the sale but to initiate a dialogue. Whether that dialogue includes an in-person chat with your customer or a click on a link, the goal is to create conversation. Conversations engage. Presentations disengage.
Since I woke up an hour ago, I have deleted about 50 solicitation emails, ignored every commercial that appeared on TV and clicked on exactly zero ads on the websites I visited. Like you, I am very protective of my attention, and it’s hard for companies to get on my radar. The same can be said for every person you need to persuade.
And if you want to buy a ball cap, buy one with a nice artistic design, not one with your company’s logo on it. You’ll get much more value out of the art.