When I was in college, one of the many jobs I had was as a security person in a department store. We were the undercover “spies” who lurked about waiting for the local “Louie light fingers” to snatch something and run so we could give chase. It actually was a pretty fun job for a college kid.
I’ll never forget one of the guys in our group, Steve. He was a character, always getting himself in a situation of some kind. Well, one fine day as he was driving down Interstate 35, Steve decided the person driving the car next to him was doing something wrong. I don’t remember if the guy was speeding or failed to use a turn signal or what. Not important.
The important thing was, Steve, didn’t like the way this guy was driving, AND Steve had a security guy “badge” for his job at the department store. (From a distance the badge DID look real.) You can probably see where this is going. Steve flashed his badge and he pulled the guy over, right there on the Interstate highway!
I suppose his ego got the better of him and he just couldn’t stop himself. Or maybe he had too much coffee that day. Who knows? Anyway, Steve gets out of his car to give the other guy a piece of his mind and finds himself face to face with a real badge from a real police officer.
Steve got lucky because all he got was a lecture. And the police officer got a great story to tell his pals on the force. It could have been much worse.
When I see a lot of marketing I think of Steve. Too often people over promise or puff up their promotional language and try to be someone or something different than who they really are.
It’s easy to do this. Whether it’s ego or over zealousness or something else, it is understandable. We’re proud of what we do and so maybe we get a little “over the top” in how we tell our story to the world.
The problem is when we cross the line and go too far, we can get ourselves in trouble, like Steve did. And as we promote our business, the last thing we want is for customers or prospective customers to think of us as people who over promise and under deliver.
Plus, for our marketing to be most effective, we need to reach the right people with the right message. If we stray too far and try to be something we’re not, our message will be wrong and our market likely will be too. Sending the wrong message to the wrong market is a cardinal sin in the world of marketing.
So, as you plan and implement your marketing, take some time to make sure you’re telling the right story. Make sure your message is based on who you are and what your business can do for your customers. Keep it grounded in reality. You’ll have a greater impact and you’ll get better results. And, you’re less likely to get chewed out by an angry police officer!