Marketing Doesn’t Work on ME!
If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard someone say that, I’d have £17.37, if I may paraphrase The Young Ones.
But seriously, when someone says this it immediately tells me they don’t really understand what marketing is and what they’re in fact talking about is mostly the nasty in-your-face hard-sell we all know and loathe; either that or the overtly “look how popular/sexy/up-to-date you’ll be!” stuff, which I actually suspect works better on people than they’re prepared to admit.
Regardless, in those respects, I tend to agree with them.
No one is going to sell me anything I don’t want to buy, and the instant they ignore my “no” and start all that smarmy mealy-mouthed shit to try and get me to change my mind, the more pissed off I’m going to get.
Still, there are two things to point out about this:
- Not everyone is like that. Some people are suggestible enough the hard-sell works. And it works well enough for a lot of people to make a good living out of it (I’m thinking now about a certain vacuum-cleaner company and a well-known double-glazing outfit).
- Good marketing isn’t like this, anyway. Selling something to a customer or client once is actually pretty easy. But that’s not where the real profits are, and smart business owners realise this and act accordingly.
Because good business is about giving service, and selling that service is done most efficiently by letting people see the value of what you offer for themselves – and it’s value measured by their own perception, not yours.
So, as an example let’s take the common refrain “I like to go into a store, find what I want having already done my research and then buy it. I hate being bugged by sales people” (interestingly enough, this mirrors my own sentiments quite closely).
Now, people who claim marketing doesn’t work on them are missing the point that a store aimed at them – meaning they would be in the store’s target market – would arrange things so as to give these people exactly what they wanted (and no one, surely, is going to be so stupid as to claim they don’t want what they want?).
Moreover, the stores would go out of their way to make the aforementioned research quick, easy, convenient and accurate and tell their sales people to leave the browsing customers alone.
Would these solipsist folks go for that? Most likely many of them would, yes.
In which case the marketing is working on – or with – them after all.
The only real question is, are there enough people like this to warrant a store devoted to this way of working? I don’t know the answer to that, although if it could be done online, my guess is there’s probably some merit in it.
The error in perception about whether marketing works or not comes up because they wrongly see marketing as being something done to you when really it’s something done with you.
Sure, the “hard sell” probably is something done to you and it’s akin to bullying and coercion – that’s why the hard-sell results in many dissatisfied customers, high return rates and few repeat sales.
I think marketing done well is elegant and unobtrusive, more like a seduction than a rape.
You, the buyer, have to be a part of the process, to be involved in it, if for no other reason than you’re the one who puts your hand in your pocket and coughs up the dough and then lives with the product afterwards.
Ultimately it all boils down to the fact you can’t compel anyone to do anything, short of pulling a gun on them, and the best persuasion is persuasion they manage for themselves.
And you do that by giving them what they want and letting them see the value of it.