Changes in Marketing, Influencing and Selling
By Denise Michaels, Author, “Testosterone-free Marketing”
Last night President Obama gave a speech to Congress about health care. The raw emotions brought up by the debate this summer have made obvious growing trends and cultural changes worth paying attention to as a woman as you market and sell in your business.
No matter which side of the issue you fall on, clearly many Americans ability to have a respectful conversation and “agree to disagree” has been compromised. It’s not surprising our ability to have respectful discourse about important issues has eroded. Consider the following changes in our society the last decade and ways to respond to them:
* There’s a massive ability to spread lies and mis-truths with email and blogs. No checks, balances or investigation are made into the truth of claims before they’re sent out. So, if you use email marketing communicate with confidence and credibility.
* The newspaper industry has been declining for 20 years. However, major news organizations are responsible for most fact checking. Not much fact checking in the blogosphere. A good article includes both pro and con points of view. If you blog for your business and you can help prospective customers do a little consumer research – it will be appreciated.
* Schools no longer have to time to teach critical thinking skills to evaluate the merits of one point of view over another. Classrooms have become crowded and a more teaching is done from a computer – time to teach the finer points of deductive reasoning just isn’t there. If you’re selling online don’t infer or hint at what you want customers to do – tell them.
* We don’t have to come to common ground – we just “unfriend” people. We’re attached to the anonymity of living behind a computer screen, rather than dealing with people eyeball to eyeball. Don’t worry about losing a few list subscribers now and then – it’s not personal. It just means they’re not the ideal customer for you.
* Dysfunctional behavior is rewarded. Consider reality TV. The person who screams the loudest and makes the most noise gets the most air time and gets their own show next season. Don’t fall into this category and become a drama queen in business. Yes, it gets the exposure and air time but nothing hurts your credibility and integrity faster in business.
* News is expensive and must get ratings to stay on air. In our “news as entertainment” era, cameras are looking for the most bizarre, outrageous and salacious behavior. Then they reward it with air time. Higher viewership means higher ratings and increased advertising. Don’t be afraid to startle or shock a little with your message. Nothing is as easy to ignore as a boring advertisement.
* Congress members are considered “bad” if they even talk with those with an opposing point of view. Polarizing behavior is rewarded with votes. But, how can you get anything done if you don’t speak? Talk to everyone – even people you feel are competitors. Chances are you can learn and you might even find a way to help both your businesses.
* We like painting people with quick, handy labels. Characters on TV, in movies or in the media are painted in broad brush strokes as “the villian” or “the hero” for our speedy consumption. Most people are much more complex but labels are handy and we fall back on them. Have an image or brand about you and your business that’s clear and congruent. A confused mind always says “no.”
In his speech the President said the time for bickering and games are over. It’s time to sit down and work together. We know more about effective communication than ever. Yet, millions hide behind their computer screens. Women in business who win are people who learn to communicate, build real relationships and solve problems.