Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inspirational vs "Scare" Marketing

On powerful people and enterprise software
What gets your attention? What drives you to make a buying decision? As a marketer, I think about this all the time – how can I explain the benefits of my solution and motivate you to want to learn more or even buy it? I remember a professor in business school telling me that people ultimately want to be richer, more attractive, more powerful and perhaps healthier – if you can promise those things, you’ll be successful. Unfortunately, enterprise software rarely makes the list of things people look for in a mate, so I need to appeal to prospects on a different level.

Scare marketing isn’t the way to build a relationship
I think the easy way out is to use “scare” tactics; identify the bad things that can happen if you don’t have my solution (“Employee Fraud rises During Economic Downturns,” “Executive Caught Embezzling – Is it Happening to You?” “Avoid Huge FCPA Fines”!”). Sure, you’ll get attention – people slow down to gawk at car accidents, watch “reality” crime shows and listen to bombastic radio hosts, right?– But I don’t think you’re helping your brand or starting the relationship with your future customers off well when this makes up the bulk of your messaging.

Focus on value
Instead, I’d prefer to be more inspirational - which I think actually ties back to the root motivators identified by my professor. If I can help you save time, save money, reduce risk, eliminate daily frustrations, etc. ultimately you will become richer and more powerful (pay raises and promotions come to those who help their organizations achieve these things). I won’t promise to never use negative stories in my marketing, but I do hope to keep them to a minimum.

What are your thoughts? What gets your attention?

Shameless plug
Oh, and if you are worried about the rates of fraud rising in these tough times, you may want to check out our upcoming webinar. Meric Bloch, VP of Compliance and Corporate Investigations, Adecco Group North America, is an expert on workplace investigations, and promises to share his insights on how to fight fraud.
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