If you think “marketing ethics” is an oxymoron, skip this column. I’m a guest lecturer at the local university and encourage these marketers of the future to promote the positive instead of the dreary negative. Take a look at your marketing efforts and consider these three ideas to … “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier” (bonus points to anyone who guesses the author of this quote).
Scare or reassure?
Perhaps you saw the Nationwide ad positioned to scare parents, as featured in this article, Nationwide Dead-Kid Super Bowl Ad Is Here To Terrify Parents Into Buying Insurance. Holy backfire, Batman!
What can you learn from their $6.75 million mistake? Think about ways your product or service can reassure your customers with positive examples that your brand can help them. Give them confidence, whether it is to try something new for the first time or take their current sport to the next level.
When you’re selling that new jacket and/or pant, first point out the comfort it provides in different riding conditions and stylish look. Then mention the features that will protect them in a crash, but don’t belabor that point.
Leave off snarky
Recently, Nike announced a new marketing to women campaign that is their biggest yet. I’ve been a runner for two decades and kept my eye on their marketing for that long as well. Some campaigns I like, others I just shake my head and sigh.
This Nike Women video, Better for It, caught my attention. I absolutely LOVE the half marathoner’s comments. But then I started to get annoyed with all of the snarky comments promoting the insecurities and negative thoughts women may have. I grimaced instead of smiled.
Ensure your social posts, emails and website content are encouraging to others, giving them reasons to smile. Be aware that sarcasm or snarky comments can be perceived in different ways by people of different backgrounds, or generations.
“No give up, I can do”
Increase your social media interactions by celebrating and sharing positive stories of people, both local and national. They don’t all have to be related to powersports, such as this article about a boy with Down syndrome who believes, “No give up, I can do” and masters riding a two-wheeled bike, To Parents Who Think Their Child Will Never Ride a Bike. It doesn’t have a motor, but the story shows how some people overcome challenges.
How do you celebrate the milestones your customers achieve? Sit down with your staff and brainstorm new ideas beyond tacking a photo on the corkboard in the back. That’s a good way to reach and inspire people who walk in your dealership, but how do you celebrate customers outside the store? Think about community partnerships, social media avenues or places on your website to also highlight them. Include a monthly feature in your e-news or find a time to share their stories with others during dealership events.
Our culture promotes enough of the negative through the news, advertising and popular shows. I urge you to put a stake into the ground and commit to promoting the positive. Your customers will thank you for being a beacon of light in the darkness.
A rider for 26 years, Leslie spent 15 years with Harley-Davidson (3 retail, 12 corporate) and created their marketing to women role in 2007. She spearheaded Women Riders Month and a Garage Party Campaign which drove 25,000 women to dealers. After 2 years at Trek Bicycles, Leslie now helps companies sell more to new audiences. email@example.com. www.previshmarketing.com.