March 31, 2020

Marketing Gimmicks to Avoid

Category: Marketing Strategy

People are getting increasingly more tired of being directly sold to. Gone are the days where the man in a shiny suit and slicked-back hair would ring your doorbell to sell you on printers, insurance, or steak knives. People largely want to feel like each buying choice they make is inspired by little else outside their own presences and market savvy. The internet and digital media have made product research so simple that the very foundations of marketing have changed.

This evolution has shone a rather harsh spotlight on some popular marketing gimmicks within major sectors, specifically attorney advertising. Here are some notable examples.

Attorney Advertising: The Fighter

On your next road trip, try a new game. Take note of the multitude of attorney billboards you pass by. You get 1 point if the billboard includes the phrase “will fight for you,” and you get 5 points for any image of an attorney in a suit “with their dukes up” like they’re ready to fight. This sentiment has become the single most used tactic among the field mainly because it’s a true feeling from the firm.

Most personal injury attorneys you meet are just that: fighters. It takes a singular kind of person to do what they do and grind these cases out. The issue comes when everyone latches on to this branding. Also, you can’t really use the inverse in your advertising campaigns: “Call us right now, and we’ll… see how this plays out.” NO! We want a fighter! But surely we can find alternative methods to get this point across without relying on the gimmick everyone else is already using.

Automotive Advertising: Foot in the Door Deals

Few professions have gone through the type of defamation that the car salesman has over the years. According to this collection of surveys, they come in 3rd out of “Most Dishonest Professions.” If you’re wondering, car salesmen “lost” out to only #2 lobbyists and #1 members of Congress, but I digress. Surely, an industry that has lost so much trust with consumers wouldn’t churn out advertising utilizing the same gimmicks year after year, right?

It’s understood that there’s always fine print with any ad, but automotive dealerships will typically take it to the extreme. That $0 down and 0% APR deal seems incredible, but I am far too busy to pause this TV commercial and follow up with an online search to confirm. Off to the dealership I go, only to find I’m not approved. But hey, I’m here, and I might as well buy a car.

This gimmick has become so entrenched that services like Carmax and Carvana have spun up content marketing campaigns that attempt to directly inform consumers of shady practices.

Healthcare Advertising: Manufactured Empathy

The world of Healthcare advertising is typically known for its dry rigidity when it comes to creative content. Most of this is due to rules, but a good portion of this blame can fall on apathy. That’s just how it is! The healthcare industry holds enough emotion for individuals and their loved ones, but many advertisers tend to forget this by employing a bland “We’re here to help” message. It’s fake and people know it’s fake. Most people will spend hours researching their symptoms before going to the doctor in the first place. They want to be understood.

Adage had a fun Opinion piece a bit ago concerning innovations in Healthcare advertising that essentially challenged Healthcare advertisers to show true empathy with their messaging. Find a message that can instill a sense of trust not on some ethereal notion but on an experiential basis. How have you helped? What do you personally do? Can anyone really attest to this?

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