“Know what you are saying and why you are saying it, and the how will take care of itself.”
~ Wesley van Tassel
Keep Marketing – Do More, Not Less when Times are Tough
I happen to enjoy reading and watching Shakespeare, but even if you have miserable memories of the tortured reading of his lines during English class you can learn many things from his masterly business and marketing strategies.
When you consider that during his working life there were no fewer than 3 total theatre lockdowns due to the Plague testing his personal and company finances to the limit – and that he didn’t have Zoom or other electronic media to smooth his path – it’s a testament to his perseverance and resilience that he kept going.
Fortunately for us, he did.
Maybe you think of Shakespeare’s plays as ‘high culture’ but in his own day they were the equivalent of “Friends” or “Seinfeld” with mass appeal, especially among the working class. He was a master of attracting the attention of crowds and his actors and stage hands would go round town with the equivalent of billboards and flyers inviting people to come and watch the plays.
During lockdown, he kept writing and produced some of his most enduring dramas and poems because he knew that consistent writing and production honed his skills and kept his work top of mind. He could have chosen differently but he didn’t.
What Relevance Does All This Have For You?
- Keep writing – creating videos – etc… As I mention in my book Dynamic Direct Response Copywriting your market is a parade. If you don’t stay out in front of people with your message, then you will quickly get left behind and forgotten. Shakespeare wrote over ⅓ of his plays while theatres were closed and there was no certainty that they would ever be performed. When theatres opened, he had a wide repertoire to draw on and he had sharpened his habits of observation and communication.
- Consistent, disciplined, observant practice leads to improvement, even if it doesn’t always create perfection). The random marketer is unlikely to achieve as much success as the person who is focused on marketing day-in and day-out.
- Especially if you think “No one will buy my product or service right now!” You should be agonising over what you need to say and why it needs to be said. Then practice saying it.
Universal Appeal – Specific Application
Speak to your audience in their language… After he died, Shakespeare’s popularity declined – his plays were ‘too earthy’. However, despite the archaic language, their enduring popularity is largely the result of his ability to resonate with universal human emotions and responses.
His plays were enjoyed and appreciated by the common people, nobility, and royalty – because they spoke then (and still speak now) to our desires and aspirations.
What Relevance Does All This Have For You?
When it comes to your product or service, it’s important to keep in mind that the most sophisticated audience – the highest paid CEO – is still human and filled with curiosity. That is a gift all marketing can exploit, but much B2B marketing ignores.
I was talking to a sales person the other day who was bemoaning the lack of face-to-face appointments because they are so much more productive. We looked at what he was doing instead and it because clear that he had fallen into the trap of what I call “professional jargonism”. He sounded stilted.
Normally, when he was face-to-face his personality and interest resonated with his audience and he interacted effectively. Remotely, and via email or letter he sounded like a generic ‘anybody’ who was more interested in making a sale than delivering a solution.
When he became aware of that problem, he was able to alter his style so that even when he sells by webinar he communicates the idea that he is talking to you as a specific individual, who has a specific problem.
Emotion + Logic = Response
Provide a variety of reasons (both logical and emotional) why your audience should respond and provide clear directions about how they should do so. When you pay attention to Shakespeare’s language (more than the stage directions and commentary), you discover that the appropriate way to speak the lines and respond is bound up in his carefully chosen words. He enhances even his logical arguments with words that stir an emotional response.
You can do that in your marketing messages too, if you take the time to consider how to appeal to prospects’ core emotions (including the ones they probably don’t want to discuss) as well as provide a rational explanation of why they need to act now.
Right now, I’m working with businesses that are…
- Thriving and working beyond capacity;
- Building assets and marketing aggressively while closed;
- Surprised to discover that they are equalling or exceeding turnover for the same period last year despite feeling quiet;
They all have one thing in common… They’re focusing on the things they can control, and not letting the things that are outside of their control stop them.
So, never give up and don’t stop repeating your message!