In a down economy products and services that inspire greatness, create beauty, and excite the imagination are all too easily marginalized.
After all, there are always more creative products. Where there’s one novel about dragon riders, there must be another ten. Where there is one blue sparkle eyeliner, another company might sell two.
Any time when someone is trying to save money, creative products are often the first to go out the window. A new video game will keep till tomorrow, a new CD isn’t vital to survival.
How do you go from struggling to get attention to being a successfully communicating marketer able to reach customers even in the hard times?
Start by Understanding the Impact of Everyday Stories
A common question to ask when viewing the problem of selling creative products in a down economy would be: “Do stories really have such power?”
The answer is yes.
The key to using stories to become an A-level marketer is in understanding the role they play in real lives of average people.
People have to live, and to live you have to be able to process life. People do this a number of ways.
They gather data via their senses:
They understand the data internally:
They make varying decisions based on:
They act on their decisions:
Sometimes people don’t make logical choices given the presented circumstances. OK – people seldom make truly logical, sensible, wise choices given presented circumstances.
Mostly because Homo sapiens tend to be creatures of habit and emotion, not rational logic.
How do you get involved in this nonsensical process and start making some money?
Stories are how people interpret emotions – and emotions are how people see the world.
Learn to Value Emotional Vitality
Selling is about more than presenting a product for sale. It is about engaging the hearts and minds of your potential customers. It’s all about creating brand loyalty and excitement.
A common story amidst copywriters is about a sports car that was once sold as a jet plane on wheels.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Japanese made Acura NSX – a medium sports car that went for $60,000 in 1991.
The sports car wasn’t as good as most cars that went for the $60K price tag. Yet it had a story behind it, driving the seemingly phenomenal sell.
It had an engine that was similar to a jet fighter. So a clever copywriter focused on that. On paper the NSX turned into a four-wheeled jet fighter, a car to beat all comers.
The Acura NSX sold.
Not because people wanted to actually own a jet fighter…
Not because the Acura was super expensive…
Not because of the hype…
But because the copywriter and company told a story, a story that appealed to emotions like: pride…excitement…novelty…
People wanted the emotion of owning a four-wheeled jet fighter. They wanted the adrenaline, and the accompanying emotions that adrenaline produces.
The clever copywriter tapped into those emotions by presenting the story of a four-wheeled jet fighter. Potential customers for the Acura NSX could easily process the idea of the four-wheeled jet fighter, and then they could grasp the emotional value of the car.
Overcoming the Averageness Crisis
In all honesty, we both know that creative products can be very hard to sell, and very easy to marginalize. So, rather than trying to grab for attention and notice in a busy market and down economy, try storytelling.
Each product, especially a creative product, has a story behind it.
Yet most stories seem rather average, normal. That’s a phenomena referred to by marketers as a ‘me-to syndrome.’ How do you overcome this?
The same way the marketing campaign for the Acura NSX did. By finding the special, hidden depths to their car, and spinning it as a creative story.
Who wrote that book, and why? What influenced the story? What unusual circumstance was that idea conceived in?
That sparkle eyeliner looks like a hundred others at first glance. But…
Why is that shade of blue so special?
Who thought of it?
What do your customers say about it?
Does the sparkle in the eyeliner really bring out the highlights in your eyes?
Tell the story: take off the curtain and show your potential customers behind the scenes.
Honesty, Honesty, Honesty
You may have noticed that the above tips did not include ways to spin fiction stories. No self-respecting-successful-in-the-long-term-marketer would ever, ever advocate lying to get customers.
That is a very quick way to doom your company.
A little bit of fizz and sparkle is fine. Digging deep and spinning seemingly ordinary elements into a bright and attractive show is fine.
Honesty is key. The Acura NSX did, for example, have an engine that had many similarities to a jet-fighter engine. Just because they managed to sell a car well over its actual value, using facts that might well have been true for other sports cars of the day doesn’t mean they were lying.
It just means that they were practicing smart marketing.
Smart marketing is honest marketing. At its core, your story had better be true – and able to hold up to the test of time and intense scrutiny.
Use the Above to Sell
Put all these elements together to find your story.
Dig deep to find out what makes your story special
Use master storytelling skills to create emotional vitality
Be honest, faithful, and tough it out during the hard times
Become an A-level marketer of your creative product