Closely watching, the commercials would have you believe that Potato Chips are a food group. They are made from vegetables after all, as a potato can officially be called a vegetable even if it’s a stretch. Just like this stretching of real truth, there are many marketing myths for entrepreneurs that fall into the gray area – convenient to believe but not really healthy.
The gray areas of marketing myths for entrepreneurs is that which is not completely authentic, and is designed to be manipulative. It’s that which is not completely true when you examine it from all perspectives. It’s the type of marketing I feel that is fear based. It’s a marketing myth that you must compel your consumers by way of fear of loss. Better to communicate a struggle and a solution than to motivate with barely concealed manipulation to panic – if you want to operate from a place of full integrity in your business.
Marketing has morphed over the decades, particularly since the online factor has become mainstream. When you read about the history of marketing and advertising, you can understand the simplistic and effective formulas that were the foundation of marketing campaigns for many years. Internet marketing for entrepreneurs followed that formula initially and then grew from there.
In direct response marketing the goal is to compel a quick click, leading to the next action and the next, down the funnel. Fear of loss plays a big role in this method. “Order in the next 23 minutes or this life saving tincture will be gone forever!” It works. Psychological studies have shown that humans are more motivated by fear than reward. We will more easily bypass our rational brain to avoid pain than we will to incite pleasure. Silly humans!
Yet, the world of online direct marketing is rapidly changing. The audience is more savvy. The pop-up box inviting (forcefully) to act now or forever hold your peace, is being ignored more and more. Prospective clients and customers are desiring an emotional connection based in reality and integrity. In the wonderful, insightful book Winning the Story Wars, by Jonah Sachs the power of narrative is dissected and reassembled. Instead of pages of marketing myths for entrepreneurs, Mr. Sachs lays out a psychologically sound portrayal of the hero (and shero) mindset of honest marketing with the great power of story.
He states, ” The Story Wars are the battle to be heard in today’s overcrowded media marketplace. In the fray, you either tell stories that inspire people to act and share or you get immediately forgotten.
But it’s not just marketers who sell ideas, causes or products who need better stories. Our audiences desperately need to receive them. Ours is a global culture in search of new stories to give our lives meaning and hope. That’s why those willing to tell – and live – the truth in the timeless language of great storytellers will rule the future… Be Interesting, Tell the Truth and Live the Truth.”
On the forefront of marketing these days are companies that have embraced the role of the consumer within the marketing story. People want to be engaged in something bigger. They prefer to be a part of – rather than spoken to. When buying the brightly colored new athletic shoes makes one the hero of the neighborhood playground, people want in! Traditional marketing and advertising based itself on the premise that consumers could be easily swayed and manipulated. Thus, potato chips are a food group. But that marketing myth is rapidly changing.
As a culture we can choose to sit brain dead in front of the TV screen or computer and consume commercial drivel. As entrepreneurs who must develop effective marketing campaigns, we can continue within the gray area of fear and loss based direct response marketing, or we can heed the words of Jonah Sachs and creatively develop high integrity narrative based marketing stories that engage our audience and compel them to rise up into their highest self.
This is many steps beyond the marketing myths for entrepreneurs. This is the new age of heroes and sheroes, stepping into the story that skilled marketers set up for them. They (the entrepreneur marketers and the consumers) become better in their minds and hopefully in reality as well.