Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sleep Until Noon, Drive a Cadillac

When I was in college and looking for a summer job, the following headline jumped out at me: "Sleep Until Noon, Drive A Cadillac". You bet, I called the number. The job was for a limousine driver. While I did not pursue the position, those six words in the classified section taught me an important lesson: You need to stand out from the crowd.

If the ad had said "Limo Drivers Wanted. (619)555-1212", I would not have even noticed.

When designing advertisements, direct mail, client letters, websites or other marketing materials you only get one chance to make a first impression. You need to a discover a way to grab the attention of your audience. In our "information overload" world, you must make them STOP and take notice.

However, professional services firms usually end up with "marketing by committee". Too many people in the company need to have their input in every decision, and you end up with materials that are very "vanilla" (Yawn). Most executives are too conservative to go out on a limb with their message, and they mistakenly think that everyone will read their marketing materials like one reads a white paper or magazine article.

And the marketing department rarely has the power to say "Whoa.....that is a bad idea", as the committee are the ones who control their job security.

I think that less is more when it comes to marketing (think white space, not paragraphs). Find clever ways to capture attention, and make your first impression memorable. While I didn't become a limo driver, twenty years later I am still talking about that six word classified ad. Now that is powerful.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

For more on business development and networking, read my book, "Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Keep and Grow Your Business Relationships" (New Year Publishing, 2005)....available at www.thomsinger.com

1 comment:

MiGrant said...

I get your point, but surely the actual effect of the ad would be to generate a lot of calls from people who aren't really interested in the job — quantity over quality of responses & a waste of time for whoever's answering the phone. Stand out, yes, but don't create false expectations, even innocently.