Marketing Tips from Aretha Franklin

by Karrie Kohlhaas on March 4, 2007

in Marketing,Newsletter,Recommended Reading

arethafranklinThere’s a lot of bad marketing out there. You know: Marketing that irritates you or insults your intelligence or that simply doesn’t speak to you. I looked to Aretha Franklin for some inspiration in writing this one. Be grateful there is no sound with this article—I am tone deaf.

“You’ve got to think (think!) ’bout what you’re tryin’ to do to me.” (Think)
Before you craft your marketing message, figure out what the message is trying to accomplish. When you write postcards, newsletters, advertisements or post web content, it’s essential that you ask:

What actions do you want your audience to take? Is the purpose of your campaign to stay visible to your prospects or to urge them to attend an event, to call you or to refer people to you? Make this explicit. Often marketing materials are trying to do too many things, obscuring the action you want your audience to take. Think about what you are trying to do, or rather, what you are trying to get your audience to do.

“Chain, chain chain. Every chain’s got a weak link.” (Chain of Fools)
What is the experience of your customers or clients? What do they want or need? Where is the opening to help, fix, maintain, supply, support this area? If you don’t know, start asking them. Many industries create markets by telling people what is wrong with them (think of the cosmetics and pharmeceutical companies!) but it’s much more appealing to the consumer to feel that someone has tapped into an existing desire, need or frustration they have and then be offered a solution for it. How can you strengthen a weak link in their chain or offer relief in some way?

“R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find out what it means to me.” (Respect)
People are smart and the ones you want as clients are probably smarter than average. If your marketing materials speak to the lowest common denominator you are liable to lose the upper crust of clients with whom you truly want to work. People see right through marketing that is too sales-y or inauthentic. Provide something of value to your audience instead of simply bombarding them with your sales pitch. When people feel respected by you, they are more likely to want to work with you or buy what you are selling.

“Forever and ever you’ll stay in my heart and I will love you.” (Say a Little Prayer)
The way to be loved is to speak to your customer’s needs in a way that resonates with them. So when you are marketing yourself, speak the language your audience uses. People lose interest when you drone on in your industry lingo about some feature or function or process—that’s your world, get into their world. When your prospects hear how you can solve their issues in their words they will be interested. This is how you become valuable to your audience and how you will stay in their memory (and maybe their hearts too).

“Sock it to me. Sock it to me. Sock it to me.” (Respect)
Now say it in a way they can repeat it. When you hear a song with a catchy phrase you remember it. Think of the ads you remember. They are quick, punchy and to the point. Try this: Think about what it is you do for people – what benefits they get from you – and write 10 snappy, juicy, punchy, exciting ways to get to the heart of that. Send them to me and I’ll give you some feedback and suggestions. Remember, this is a one liner that should entice, but doesn’t have to tell your whole story.

“Or you might–find out I’m gone.” (Respect)
Remember Aretha’s lyrics next time you work on your marketing materials. Know what you are trying to get your audience to do. Speak to the weakness or pain your customers are feeling and offer them a solution in their terminology. Respect the intelligence of your audience and be authentic. And sock it to them in a way that is catchy and easy to repeat. If you don’t, you might just find out they are gone and using someone else’s services, buying someone else’s goods. Follow these guidelines and you’ll have customers banging down your doors and singing your praises to their friends.

© 2007 – 2011, Karrie Kohlhaas. All rights reserved.

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