Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Closet Optimist

Recently I've been watching a TV show (from iTunes, not broadcast) called Mad Men. It's a period drama about 60's Madison Avenue advertising exec Don Draper and the agency he runs. The ad business has changed a lot since those days - or so it would seem. Even though the show's characters are mainly cynics, the heart of each client-enthralling ad campaign is a positive message.

Imagine that - winning a client with a campaign that says something positive about the product. It seems like a simple idea, but you'd be surprised at how many pitches go on and on about the "problem" that a product resolves. This is especially true of direct mail. So many letters use scare tactics and doom & gloom. Ugh.

I notice this, because you see, I am a closet optimist. I genuinely believe that the world is basically a good place, that people are mostly good, and that there are "silver linings" to bad situations. It's not a very popular way to be. And sometimes I do need to focus on problems or challenges - but it's always with an eye toward the resolution.

So here's my practical suggestion for my fellow marketers (and optimists). Analyze your communications - are they identifying problems, or presenting the happy result of buying your product? Are your letters/brochures/emails 50% positive, 75%, more? What could increasing the amount of positive message do for the effectiveness of your materials? Hmmmm.

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