This week, I’m pleased to introduce my friend Chris Forbes. Chris is a speaker, a comedian, and the author of Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits. You can find him at http://chrisforbes.org/.
By Chris Forbes
People have a physiological ability to ignore your marketing, but there is something you can do about it, try a little guerrilla marketing [amazon affiliate link].
The human brain has a coping mechanism that helps people filter out unwanted communication and if you are not careful, the brains of the people you want to reach with your marketing will automatically edit you out of your prospect’s minds before they even have a chance to think about responding to you.
The Reticular Activating System (RAS) of the human brain manages the daily function of consciousness and filters out unwanted stimuli. This autonomic physiological ability is nature’s way of helping humans block out ambient noises and other distractions to aid in concentration.
It’s a handy part of the brain too, there are a lot of sensory events going on all around you all the time. Imagine how crazy it would drive you if you actually heard every noise around you, or noticed everything you saw.
The problem with this is your marketing message is mixed up in all the other noises that surround the people you want to reach and can easily get blocked by their automatic brain filters. Researchers say that people experience between 1,500-3,500 appeals for their attention every day. No wonder brains are filtering out marketing messages-there’s a mess of them!
How do you break through the natural attention filtering of your target audience?
Here are four Guerrilla marketing battle plans for breaking through and getting the attention of the customers you want to reach:
- Be patient
It takes a prospect seeing your message nine times before they are ready to act on it. Before they see your message the first time, you probably showed it to them three times. Most marketers quit before their marketing has a chance to work. Keep plugging until you have showed them your message twenty-seven times and you’ll be cashing checks and not just writing them for advertising.
- Stop changing messages so much
Just because you are bored with your marketing doesn’t mean your audience is. Chances are they haven’t even “seen” it yet. And if you have something that worked before, why on earth did you change it?
- Narrow your target
The more narrow your audience, the smaller the target and easier it is to repeat your message multiple times. The smaller the target, the bigger the bulls-eye.
- Stop talking about yourself
Most marketers send out “me marketing” marketing that says “Notice me” and “See how great my product is.” Most people are looking out for themselves, they think “What’s in it for me?” People don’t filter out things that meet their needs. They don’t filter out “You marketing.” Make sure your marketing speaks to your audience from their point of view, with their needs in mind.
Yes! Please pay attention to Number 4 – it’s a basic marketing principle but it works. I saw a t-shirt advertised just the other day that read exactly that – “Stop Talking About Yourself.” I just may need that one for the spring wardrobe.
I love #1. Along with every thing else I do media distribution of documentaries, etc. I am email marketing these FREE documentaries to lists I work with all the time. However, I cannot tell you how many times it’s the 6th or 7th email that somebody finally pays attention to as if it were the first time I told them. It’s the way it is in our hectic, media rich environment.
# 2 resonates with me – just because we’re tired of hearing a message (because we work with it all day – every day) doesn’t mean that folks outside our organizations have really heard it yet. Thanks for these great tips!
I think that nonprofit folks suffer from the ‘curse of knowledge’ and try to share way too much. Keeping marketing messages short, simple, and consistent is a much better way to go than trying to tell everything to everyone.
I agree that narrowing your audience moves your marketing forward. Not only is the bulls-eye bigger but you can be wiser with your $s and more specific with your message. Picking an audience and speaking their language are good marketing practices.