Timeless Marketing Truth The Unchanging Truth About Selling Fickle People



What we want changes overnight; what makes us want it​ hasn’t changed in​ thousands of​ years,​ nor will it​ change in​ thousands more. the​ serious student of​ marketing can learn much from early analysts of​ motivation. Here is​ a​ bit of​ George French’s "The Art and Science of Advertising” from the​ turn of​ the​ 20th century…

“We know how to​ appeal to​ Smith because we know Smith.  We know what will please Brown because we know Brown.  We know how to get our way with Jones because we know Jones. What the​ advertiser must know is​ how to​ get at​ Smith,​ Brown and Jones without knowing any of​ them. While every man has his personal peculiarities… every man and every mind is​ controlled,​ in a large sense and to​ a​ great extent,​ by mind workings which were established before we lived,​ and are operated in​ a​ manner separate from his personality. 

Our minds are… more mechanical than we are willing to​ admit.  That which we loosely call mind is​ largely the​ automatic expression of tendencies controlled by physical conditions wholly apart from conscious intellectual or​ moral motives or​ qualities. What those physical conditions are,​ and how the​ knowledge of​ what they are may be used by advertisers,​ forms the​ body of​ that new knowledge some like to​ call psychology,​ so far as​ it​ concerns advertising."

Professor Walter Dill Scott is​ more specific in​ his 1908 classic "The Psychology of​ Advertising”…

The Direct Command
“Now a​ large majority of​ people do things because they are told to​ do them.  it​ would seem… that more people are forced to​ action by a​ direct command than by any other method of​ appeal. This is​ undoubtedly due to​ the​ fact that the​ great mass of​ the​ people do not think things out for themselves. the​ thinking is​ done by the​ small minority and the​ bulk of​ the​ people accept the​ thoughts of​ the​ minority…

“If you​ will study advertising… you​ will notice that the​ direct command is​ used more than any other method… ‘Smoke Blank's Cigars.’ ‘Use Blank Soap.’ ‘Let Blank the​ Tailor Make Your Next Suit.’  ‘Study Law at​ Home.’  ‘Be a​ Trained Nurse’…

Interest Your Prospects
“The association of​ ideas is​ a​ matter of​ great importance… you​ should find out something in which your prospective customer is​ interested  that can be associated in​ some way with what you​ are offering. Professor William James put this principle very clearly.  He said:  ‘Any object not interesting in​ itself may become interesting through becoming associated with an​ object in​ which an​ interest already exists.  the​ two associated objects grow,​ as​ it​ were,​ together…’

To again quote Professor Halleck:  ‘An eminent philosopher has said that man is​ completely at the mercy of​ the​ association of​ his ideas.  Every new object is​ seen in​ the​ light of​ its associated ideas....’

So “borrowed interest,​” Scott shows us,​ is​ nothing new. Neither,​ we shall see,​ is​ the​ “limited time offer.”

Work for Quick Action
“The tendency for most people is​ to​ delay action. They seem to​ prefer doing nothing today that can be put off until tomorrow.  it​ is​ on​ account of​ this condition that so much thought is​ given to​ plans and methods calculated to​ bring about prompt decisions… the​ special sale which has a​ "hurry up" low price for a​ limited time; the​ special bargain sale in​ which the numbers of​ articles offered is​ limited; the​ special discount if​ the​ offer is​ accepted within a​ certain time… Various methods can be devised by anyone who will give the​ matter a​ little thought. 

“In conclusion,​  we will say that as​ psychology is​ only human nature… if​ we learn what the​ average man is​ likely to​ think and do under certain conditions,​ we can be guided by that knowledge,​ as​ human nature is​ pretty much alike the​ world over.”

The old-timers knew a​ lot about what makes people buy. Tapping into their wisdom is​ a​ great way to​ make your marketing highly motivating and right up to​ the​ minute!





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