"Reason Why" Marketing
By Ron Rosenberg
So let’s focus on the message itself–specifically, how to create a powerful message, but not make it so “over the edge” that it’s no longer believable.
Too Good to Be True?
Take a look at the example above which illustrates a timeshare offer we received a while back. While it illustrated the offer and looks beautiful, the accompanying information seemed just a bit too good to good to be true.
The offer was this: two plane tickets, five nights in a luxury hotel, all your meals, and three rounds of golf on a championship course...for just $297!
Of course, in the grand scheme of things, this may be a completely justifiable “cost per lead”–the amount you’re willing to spend to get prospects to raise their hands and express interest.
In fact, compared to the potential revenue generated from the actual sale of just one timeshare package, this might even be a bit light.
After all, we all understand that marketing isn’t an expense–if it’s done right, it’s an investment with an outrageously high rate of return.
But our natural defenses come up whenever we see something like this: our experience and common sense tell that whenever something seems too good to be true...it usually is!
Can I Use the Xerox Machine?
In a study published back in 1977, a person was sent to a college library where there was a long line waiting to use the copying machine. In those days, a company called Xerox enjoyed near-total domination of the commercial copier industry.
We were still a few years away from the concept of the personal computer, a couple of decades from the internet as we know it today, and, believe it or not, people actually went to libraries to do research.
Yes, I know, it sounds positively painful by today’s standards, but somehow we managed.
So back to the study...the people were instructed to approach the person at the front of the line and ask if they could jump in and make copies.
In fact, there were three different requests that were rotated each time they approached a different group:
1. “May I use the Xerox machine?
2. ‘‘May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?
3. ‘‘May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”
Do You Have a Good Reason?
In essence, all three questions are similar in that they all involve a request to “cut the line” and make a few copies before the other people who have been waiting patiently for their turn.
On the other hand, the three questions are profoundly different because of how they’re asked.
The first question offers no reason whatsoever, it’s just a request–politely asked, I’m sure–to go to the front of the line for a few quick copies.
The second question offers a “reason why”–a justification for why the request is being made; in this case, “because I’m in a rush.”
It’s the third question where things get interesting. In this case, there is a reason provided–“because I have to make some copies.” But it’s really a pretty feeble excuse–I mean why else would the person want to use the machine except to make copies?!
Any Reason is a Good Reason!
What we have so far is an interesting philosophical question with clear and definite marketing overtones: what will get people to respond in the way you want them to?
Let’s see what the results tell us...
On the first question, ‘May I use the Xerox machine?” 60% of the people agreed–a nice commentary on basic human nature.
When the second question was asked, “May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?” the results were very different: 94% of the people said yes. Apparently when you give people a good reason, they’ll agree to what you’re asking them to do.
But it’s the third question that gives us something important to chew on. When this question was asked, “May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?” 93% of the people said yes–virtually no difference from Question 2!
In other words, it really doesn’t matter if you have a good reason, it only matters that you have one!
Add “Reason Why” to Your Offer
If there’s a “secret weapon” to make your offers more appealing, it’s providing a compelling reason why people should pay attention, why they should believe you, and why they should take action.
If They Don’t Believe You...
People will listen to what you’re saying with a very critical ear. As soon as something hits them that doesn’t sound right, you’ve lost them. Or, in other words, if they don’t believe something you say, they won’t believe anything you say.
So you need to incorporate “reason why” marketing into everything you do:
• Making an incredible offer
• Announcing a price increase
• Explaining why your product is better
• Introducing a new service
Let Them Know Why...
Remember, you have one real advantage over the copier example we talked about earlier in the article: you’ll almost certainly have a valid and believable explanation–a reason why–for what you’re offering to your customers, clients, and members.
The very fact that you include this in your marketing will give you a definite advantage over your competition.