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Marketing to the Average Joe

By Jeffery

I am a man with a short attention span and a hundred things vying for my attention, and I'm sure a lot of you could relate.  I wanted to share these two facts about myself so you could see why some marketing strategies get through, and how some just don't.  It's not that I'm ignoring events or promo materials; it's more that the things go unnoticed and forgotten unless they are upfront and "in my face." So let's take a look at some of the marketing strategies (or lack of strategy) that will fail to get through to me.

  1. Make one announcement and wait for people to sign up. This is a common one. My wife is notorious for this. "I told you about that birthday party last month." You did?
  2. Bury it in the church bulletin. Well the immediate concern is what if someone doesn't take a bulletin?  Ok I take a bulletin, but don't read the announcement – because surely if it was something important there would be multiple print and verbal announcements.
  3. Make the announcement boring and dull.  With smart phones and tablets in just about everyone's hands, it's never been easier to surf the internet, check Facebook, or play Angry Birds with just a tap of your finger if boredom begins to set in.
  4. Put a signup sheet down the hall on an obscure bulletin board. Visitors don't know that bulletin board exists, actually some frequent members may not even know it's there!  It's like the old saying goes...'out of sight, out of mind'.
  5. Post it on plain black text on a white piece of paper.  Your mind can tune out the 'white noise' and another black and white paper is just that.  Not too mention you want to convince me that this event will be fun – so make the flyer/brochure/sign-up sheet fun.

So now that I've brutally attacked what doesn't work for me, let me share some things that WILL grab my attention:

  1. Sell me on it! Make those multiple announcements fun and lively. I recently attended an event because the woman giving the plain and ordinary announcement was wearing a robe and slippers and her husband was dressed like a cowboy. How could I not pay attention to that announcement?! Use skits, silly bits, costumes, puppets—whatever it takes to keep that boredom from creeping in and a new Angry Birds level being completed.
  2. Make it a FaceBook event and invite me through social media. Tweet me. Text me. Message me. Email me. I check my social media sights at least once a day. If I see all my Facebook friends responding to an event invite, it's going to get me interested.
  3. Personally invite me. Everyone wants to feel wanted. A personal invitation not only gets people to sign up, it brightens their day (Wow! Old 'So and So' went out of his way to make sure I was going!)  Hey and it's harder for people to say 'No' when they're face-to-face with you.
  4. Put an obvious, temporary sign up station in plain view. I can walk past a signup sheet and a cluttered bulletin board without noticing them. It's hard to walk past a station that wasn't there last week; especially, if there is a big colorful sign and a few people talking it up. (maybe even a few sugary sweets!)
  5. Make signage noticeable. Quick...look up from your computer at any sign in the room. When was the last time you consciously noticed that sign? It's been a while, hasn't it? Our brain filters out clutter and white noise. So if you want signage to stand out here are two simple techniques: a) make signage colorful, with large type, and b) move your signs every week. The former is going to get me to notice them the first time. The later keeps me on my toes. In fact, after 2 or 3 weeks, I may even start looking forward to where the signs will be placed this week.

Let me finish with this story:

A few weeks ago a woman I know was terribly upset because very few people had signed up for a fundraising luncheon. The luncheon was only a few days away, and the organizers were considering cancelling it. My first response was, "There's a luncheon?"

What had occurred was a single announcement on a day when I wasn't there to hear it. Others had heard the original announcement, but then the business of life had pushed it out of their mind.

The group planning the luncheon decided to give one final marketing push. A second announcement was followed up with emails and personal invites. The luncheon was packed out. Those who couldn't attend donated money to the fundraiser. But it would have failed had the organizers relied solely on their first single announcements.

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