Avoiding the Ego When Advertising

I’m often asked about the secret to successful marketing – untapped methodologies that will lead to untold riches.  It is my experience that many of these secrets are hiding in plain sight. The one that matters the most is Needs-Satisfaction Selling.The idea is to find out what is important to your audience and develop a marketing strategy that is in lockstep with their needs.

While this is true, you might be surprised to know that many have departed from this common sense practice to explore a more self centered approach – Egomani’ads.

As the name suggests, Egomani’ads is a term I developed to describe communications spawned from those more concerned with their ego and prestige, rather than the audience. It’s as if a company stands in front of the mirror to admire itself and turns to the audience to say, “I am amazing, aren’t I?”

I’m not discouraging the communication of strength, knowledge, success and other virtues. However, you must be keenly aware of how to present these things so that they are relevant to the core needs of your consumer.

Let’s examine some common Egomani’ad components:

The Company PresidentExample: Hi, my name is John Doe. I’m the CEO, chairman and founder of XYZ company…

Company leaders are often encouraged to appear in ads because some feel they are able to sell the story better than anyone else. If that is the case, sell the story; immediately get to the point of why I should spend another moment viewing the ad. While your staff may revere your title, the guy sitting on his couch does not care. He sees your ad and has only one thing in mind – “What’s in it for me?”

AwardsExample: XYZ company has won the "We’re Special Award" 12 years in a row…

The decision to show off the old trophy case in order to build trust and confidence with the consumer must be done with caution. Be careful not to highlight obscure accolades – something such as "Regional Widget World Happy Customer Award Winner." Instead opt for an award that everyone knows. For instance, awards that come from the Better Business Bureau. But don’t stop there. It is incumbent upon you to inform the audience that you will be their problem solver and the awards merely serve as proof.

Your Revenue/GoalsExample: We’ve liquidated over $1 million in widgets and we want you to help us do a million more!

Often companies attempt to generate excitement for a promotion or event by telling people about how much product is flying out the door. But again, we must examine whether this piece of information is relevant to a prospective customer. Value, price and convenience are more vital than revenue figures.

In the end, see marketing as taking the audience out on a blind date. Remember your manners and be sure that dialog is centered on the customer rather than droning on about yourself. More specifically, ensure that communications are squarely aimed at addressing the needs of your audience.

Walter Dailey is a former ad agency partner and experienced marketing professional. He is the lead consultant and executive producer at Dailey Sound Vector Media, a creative services organization that specializes in developing commercials, jingles and marketing campaigns for small businesses throughout North America.  Ask Walter your questions atwalter@dsvmedia.com