The inflatable gorilla doesn’t work for me, but neither does the obvious presentation. I want your opinion, not just facts. I want perspective, not just the vanilla, left brain statistics. If you want people to listen, you’re going to have to step out and say something. Three key elements of educational marketing sum it up:
Credible. Educational must be believable. It has to make sense to the target audience. That means people understand what you are showing them, in a language they can grasp, not jargon that is outside of their ability to comprehend. Too many marketers have given us meaningless phrases using terms like integrated, adaptive, scalable, etc. They’ve put together phrases that sound good, but have not practical meaning, leaving the prospect confused. Educational marketing seeks to show a prospect something they have not considered, convince them there is something they need to be doing, and show them a high likelihood of achieving a desirable outcome if they will simply follow your program.
Unexpected. It can’t be obvious. The prospect must be hit with something they have not considered, in a way that is almost shocking, whether good or bad. It interrupts your day, not like the inflatable gorilla, but by moving you to action suddenly. If I show you malware on your own computer and then begin to describe the potential it’s owner has to steal your data, you should be moved to action. When the vacuum company shows you how disgusting your mattress is, you are suddenly shocked into wanting their vacuum, although in a couple of weeks you will likely be back to your old habits and realize this is just part of life; no different than having dust mites crawling all over you right now. Of course, you have already made the purchase, so the marketing department has achieved its goal.
Opinionated. This is where sales people and marketing fall apart. It’s your opinion as a thought leader that matters. Too many sales people rely on vanilla slides that speak through statistics. Statistics are left brain sound bites that hold some credibility, but move the listener into a state of judgmental thinking. They question what you are saying rather than being drawn into your story. Good marketing is emotional and opinionated. When you hear Howard Stearn or Rush Limbaugh, you think emotionally. They are thought leaders that represent a certain way of thinking. Sure, there is a group that hates them, but then there is another group that loves them. And the more the haters hate, the more the lovers love. They are men who are willing to stand up for their brand regardless of their opposition, and it builds their brand. People who want to be liked by everyone end up standing for nothing, and therefore have no followers. Look at the ratings and you’ll have to agree with me on this.
© 2011, David Stelzl