Monday, April 26, 2010

In Advertising, We Cannot Afford to Assume Anything

Recently, I was presenting at a Marketing Conference for the local Equine Industry. We were discussing the importance of clear communication, when one of the attendees mentioned that for years she has had a sign out on the street stating simply “Lessons”.

Recently, she replaced the sign with a new sign that reads “Riding Lessons”. To her surprise, a neighbor said to her “I never knew you gave riding lessons.”

Wow, what a HUGE lesson to the marketer in each of us.

So often, we assume that people will know what we are selling and we leave out really important information. We talk in our industry lingo. We use abbreviations and acronyms. What we fail to do is to put ourselves in the place of our audience and realize that they don’t necessarily know everything that we know about our product or service.

Now lets get back to the horse farm sign. We now know they offer riding lessons, but I can’t help but wonder what type of riding lessons are available. Do they teach english or western riding? Can I learn how to jump? Or maybe I would rather learn how to do barrel racing like in the rodeo. Do they have horses there that I can ride, or do I need my own horse? Do they teach beginners or advanced? They are still assuming a lot. Maybe they are assuming that I will just stop by and ask all these questions … but I’m a pretty busy person. And, I’m not even sure it would be OK to just stop by.

The reaction of the horse farm owner was “We are a horse farm, what kind of lessons did she think we give?” The fact is, she probably just didn’t think. Chances are, she did not care enough to put much thought into it. People are bombarded by marketing messages every day, at every turn. Most of them, we do not even notice. It is the job of the marketer to provide information in a manner that is appealing, that is easy to understand, and that is informative.

Do not waste your money on marketing messages that are ineffective. Put yourself into the shoes of your audience. Give them the information they need. Give them a reason to choose you! Do not assume they know why they should.

June Bisel

BBG&G Advertising, Inc.

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