Marketing to One’s Ego

October 21st, 2009   •   no comments   

Like peacocks, we all have our pride (beautifully shot by ClaraDon)

There is nothing worse in the marketing rulebook than to humiliate one’s potential customers. Or to make them look or feel inadequate, insecure, or just plain stupid.

Often, these outcomes are unintentional and accidental, but they result in an eroding of a company’s goodwill and trust amongst its customer base. They also result in negative word-of-mouth, which is an affliction that can result in untimely corporate morbidity.
Pride, face, or self-esteem. Call it what you may, but these are important components of a human being’s sense of worth and identity, be it as a group or as an individual. While playing up to a person’s fears may be effective in attracting his or her attention, getting the person to take the next step requires the envisioning of a positive outcome. Often, it entails making him or her feel good about himself or herself.

How does one ensure that one doesn’t inadvertently damage the ego of one’s customers? Here are some tips which may be useful to note:

1) Use the right models in your advertisements whom your target audience can identify with. At the same time, be aware of the aspirations of your potential customers and whom they look up to. While having young adolescent looking models may work for some markets, they may actually turn older and more mature customers away. Similarly, not every family these days have two kids in a specific age range, or are necessarily headed by a husband and wife pair.

2) Create situations that are intimate but not intimidating for your customers. For instance, if their lingua franca is Mandarin instead of English, find ways to converse with them in that language during the selling process. Similarly, having an ultra-modern minimalist shopfront may work well for youngsters, but may be less attractive to the mature market.

3) Develop storylines and scenarios in your marketing literature that plays up to ideals for your target markets. People at different life stages may value different things, and it is important to learn the kind of social recognition and respect which they crave for. Don’t assume automatically that every student’s dream is to be a graduate or a scholar, or that working adults necessarily all want to be the CEO one day. Studies have shown that the younger Gen Ys or Gen Zs place greater importance on work-life balance than career success, and these qualities should be considered in weaving one’s marketing collaterals.

4) A little flattery will get you anywhere, but too much may appear superficial and insincere. Be mindful that we all like to feel loved, treasured, and important in our respective circles of social and professional influence. Try to get into your prospect’s world and see things from his or her perspective, putting him or her in the centre of the campaign.

5) Finally, and probably most importantly, don’t embarrass your potential customer while trying to be helpful, especially in a group. I always shudder at fine dining restaurants when one gets a condescending sounding remark from a waiter or waitress when asking him or her how to eat a particular exotic dish. While there is a time and place for social graces, not everybody with the financial means are born with a silver spoon in their mouth and educated in social etiquette from young.

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