Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

Get Customers To Do What You Want


If you have kids, you probably find yourself saying things like “Why do I have to tell you five times before you do what I asked?!”

Or, how about the many times you have asked someone to do something for you and it didn’t get done?

Then, there are those pesky customers. You place advertising, you send direct mail, you have sales people selling—why aren’t they buying? In other words, why aren’t they listening? Why aren’t they doing what you want them to do?

We don’t do what we’re asked because conversations and words disappear.

There is a difference between the words that we say and the objects around us. Conversations use words, and words are not objects—words are invisible and as soon as you say them, they disappear. Objects take up physical space.

So here is the problem: we think that when we say something or have a conversation that it’s just going to be there—like that cup. And guess what? It isn’t. We forget most conversations in the instant that they come out of our mouths.

This is why your marketing communication strategy has to be structured in a way that keeps your message alive in the minds of your customers, and everyone with whom your company interacts. And this is the reason companies with strong simple mission statements are so successful: they have created an easy conversation to understand and to build a sales and marketing system around.

Have a reason for being in business that’s easy to “get” and remember.

For example: FedEx gets it there overnight. Domino’s gets it to you in 30 minutes. Twitter lets you know what people are doing in 140 characters. These are easy messages to remember and easy messages to build a promise around. Your message has to be that easy.

This can be really, really hard. That’s because it’s difficult to put words around feelings or concepts that are floating around in your head. Try doing a collage.

A collage will help you take what’s in your head and start translating it to a message that will be easy to remember and use in conversations.

Move the message from thoughts and words to objects.

A collage will get your concepts and ideas out of your head and onto paper. The next step is to start brainstorming the conversations your customers are having around the circumstances surrounding your product or service.

Turn your collage over and start writing those conversations there. Here are some that I wrote for my collage “Why is it that when we’re in a meeting talking about customer wants, we’re always guessing. Why can’t we just ask them?” I’m sure you can come up with a good list, especially if you’re in a group.

Now that you have those conversations outlined, start matching them with features that your product or service offers as different solutions to those conversations.

Also, note any other words or thoughts that come up around that. The goal is to start attaching the conversation to a physical object—something that your customers can see, smell touch and relate to.

Tips for keeping your advertising message alive:

1. Keep it simple

That means a basic Web page with a clean design. It looks engaging and fun to be a part of. My favorite examples are, Nimble and 99Designs.

2. Use the most basic language

Don’t try to outsmart your customer. Your goal is to communicate and engage them in a conversation that includes your product or service. Showing them how smart you are or confusing them with technical language will only push them away. is my favorite example of this. Finance can be very confusing and scary, but they make it easy and fun to play the game of managing your money.

3. Engage with three-dimensional marketing

Attach your conversation to an object. When your package shows up the next day, the FedEx message is attached to an important object, your package. Find ways to create the same effect. Use meaningful 3D marketing. In the book Outrageous Marketing there are hundreds of examples like sending season ticket order forms in a box with a dressed up rubber chicken. Now THAT’S memorable.

4. Keep the conversations with customers going

Use blogs, social media and events to be in conversations with customers about the things that are important to them. E-mail is often as invisible as words. Instead, use-handwritten notes to show customers you heard what they said.

5. Appear in unexpected but related places

Partner with a complementary brand, support a charity your customers care about—be in places that surprise and spark your customer’s curiosity.

Instead of being frustrated and angry about customers or people in general not “hearing” you, understand that this is just standard operating procedure for most human beings. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you are heard in a way that gets your customers to act. Try some of these tips and you’ll start seeing a positive response.

If you would like more information on how to Stand Out and get your customers to do what you want, then you might want to apply for your Speaker Strategy Call.