April 2021

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Not the time for Negative Messages

Over the years I have been involved in many discussions about marketing negative messages to perspective clients.

mannyManny Mandrusiak CD.
Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant
Vancouver Island Works Project

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Over the years I have been involved in many discussions about marketing negative messages to perspective clients.  For those who are not aware of what a negative message is, it is a marketing tactic that shows perspective clients that bad things could happen to them if they do not use a specific product or service.

A great example of this is cyber security.  Cyber security marketers often use negative messages to instill fear in potential clients.  This fear makes the clients call for a network assessment as they do not want to have a security break, or data theft.

Now I am not slamming this technique as it is quite effective for the right products and services.  What I am trying to highlight is the current state of the world today.  All things are not equal.  We are continually being bombarded by negative messages thanks to COVID.  The pandemic is even creating new depressive disorders.  The last thing that I personally would want to see is another negative message.

That leads me to the main topic of this article.  I was recently hired by a landscaping company to improve their sales pipeline and provide some ideas as to how the company could use different tactics to generate more leads. 

One day I was plugging away and the owner of the company asked me to join him on a Zoom call with his business coach out of Phoenix, AZ. Having lived in Phoenix, I thought that this might be a great opportunity to reconnect with the community down there.

We started the call, and it turns out that I had met the coach once at a mixer while I was living in the US.  I will always listen to someone who has new ideas, or a different perspective on things as I believe that life is a learning activity.

It turns out that the business coach started telling my client that he needs to start producing negative messages to send to his clients.  He suggested telling them that they need a drain scope, or their perimeter drain system will have problems that will cost them thousands of dollars.

I had to say something.  In the current climate could we not produce a message about how to improve the value of a home and take advantage of the booming housing market?  The answer that I got from the business coach was that he was using a tried-and-true script that has proven to have results.

In normal times maybe, but least we forget about the current pandemic.  People are losing jobs like crazy as the tourism and hospitality industries try to dig out.  Why would I not want to look at what the climate is in my client’s local market, assess the current market needs, and hammer those with positive messages that make a potential client smile and remember my company?

My client was drinking the coach’s Kool-Aid and was totally smitten with the idea of the negative messages.  I did some mock-ups of both positive and negative messages and we presented them to his management team.  Every time the mock-ups were shown to people the positive/humorous messages got the nod. 

Now I am not slamming the business coach for his approach, but I would say that he should open his eyes to what is happening in the world.  Marketers that succeed are ones that improvise, adapt, and overcome.  They do not stick to scripts. They use scripts as a guideline so that they can select the best tactics possible to bring their client’s more sales.

Till next time be kind, be calm, and be safe. 


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