Business & Finance Advertising & sales & Marketing

How NOT to Enter the Conversation in Your Customer"s Mind

There's an old copywriting saw that you should "enter the conversation going on in the customer's mind.
" It essentially means if you lead off with something they're already thinking about, you'll be more likely to get their attention and keep it because the message will be more interesting and relevant to them.
  And this isn't just true about copy-it can be a powerful public relations strategy as well.
But there are good ways and bad ways to actually do this.
Right now Americans are still very focused on the economy and the ongoing announcements about various industry bailouts.
Several companies have sought to leverage this, with various degrees of success.
Since the bad are always more fun, let's start there.
Tasteless PR Stunt.
The ever so-classy Joe Francis (Girls Gone Wild) and Larry Flynt (Hustler) issued a press release earlier this month announcing their intention to appeal to Congress for a $5 billion bailout of their industry.
(Which I can't mention because of the dreaded sp@m filters.
)  They're getting some press coverage, but it's mostly mocking them.
And I'm doubtful it will have any impact on sales.
Advertising Gone Wrong.
After receiving a $4 billion bailout from the federal government, Chrysler took out full-page "thank you" ads in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal ...
with the ad space itself probably costing about $500 million.
So they were roundly criticized for the wastefulness.
Even worse, their marketing folks must live on Pluto because the ad thanked Americans for "investing" in the company with the bailout.
Many Americans were quick to respond in colorful language that they certainly would not have bailed out the company if they'd had any say in the matter and were mad as hornets that their tax dollars were going toward it.
Note to Chyrsler: It's really NOT a good idea to remind people that they're paying for your mistakes.
And Now the Oscar Goes to...
Overstock.
com, who announced a Family Bailout contest in November where the company would pay off $50,000 worth of debt for one lucky winner.
 Any purchases between the contest dates automatically entered you (of course, an alternative entry method that didn't require a purchase was offered as well).
On January 5, a winner was announced...
as well as a new monthly Family Bailout contest providing $10,000 of debt repayment to the winner.
The contest has gotten plenty of play in the press because they're always looking for a new angle about the bailouts.
  Plus $50,000 is a significant chunk of money- it wouldn't have worked as well with $1,000, in the national press at least.
But it also got a ton of word-of-mouth publicity on blogs and forums because it tied in directly with what people were thinking about...
the bailouts, the economy, saving money.
Plus, some of the press mentioned CEO Patrick Byrne's crusade for Wall Street reform-further underscoring his thought leadership in this area and spreading his message to a wider audience.
While it's too early to see if the company's sales benefited as well, the contest certainly helped increase top-of-mind awareness for the company during the crucial Christmas buying season.
So what are your clients and prospects talking about? And how can you tie into that?


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