Your Marketing: Building Trust OR Creating Doubt?

Written by in Lead Generation on April 21, 2010

I received a door knob flier the other day from a coworker. A window company was soliciting his neighborhood for window replacement. Aesthetically, the ad is a very nice professionally produced promotional piece—a 6”x12”double-sided full color ad on card stock. The ad attempts to create a need, by mentioning the rise of home energy costs and substantiates the claim with a qualitative fact: “Old outdated windows lose 60% of your home’s energy” But does it really matter how “pretty” an ad is, or even how well it is written? I would argue that neither of these very important aspects of communications matter, if within the first couple of sentences of copy you start questioning the validity of a company’s claims.

Avoid diluting your message with an asterisk*
I am not in the market for new windows, but the only thing the target consumer (my colleague) could talk about was these asterisks. I wonder if this company knows how their target audience feels about their ads? This exhibits an obvious disconnect from their target. The problem with this ad was the perception it created in the targets mind “an abundance of asterisks must mean they are not able to support their statements.”. On this one ad there are six asterisks, none of which are very important to the substance of this ad. If your prospective customer is required to search for the – meaning of each and every asterisk, your message is lost.

Know what your target is thinking
If you take a look at the basics: Windows are expensive, they are hard to replace, quality and craftsmanship are always an issue and a good warranty is expected. Window replacement is a service that has a long sales cycle, and I would imagine lead generation is tough in this industry. A promotional piece alone is not going to persuade all by itself. The first steps to locking down your sale is to build trust and rapport. The best way to do this is by offering the consumer educational material that will help them build a list of considerations they need evaluate when deciding whether or not to purchase, rather than give them a shiny ad that diminishes trust by offering false guarantees. As an example of a good guarantee offer, in my last blog: Guarantee Your Company’s Path to Success, I discussed how valuable a company’s guarantee can be if that company and its offers are reputable.

Looking at these factors, a good marketer or sales person would understand the importance of relationship marketing. Your promotional pieces should support this and further develop the lukewarm relationship a salesman can build during their visit with the prospective customer.

The truth is
Developing a relationship with your customer cannot be supported through creating doubt. Gimmicks and asterisks get you nowhere. Customers don’t want to be sold they want to make the decision to buy. Rather than give someone an ad and expect it to sell, give them the information they need to educate themselves. Many will say that you should focus on reaching more eyes and ears with your communications. The truth is, if your company has done a good job of targeting their market, then your focus should be to build trust and maintain trust throughout the relationship.


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