November 20, 2017

Use language that disarms, not alarms

My favourite all-time theory of marketing is Dean Jackson’s Cheese and Whiskers theory. (http://ilovemarketing.com/episode-024-the-one-with-more-cheese-and-less-whiskers/). What the theory says is this:

Your customers in this analogy are like mice. What do mice like? Mice like cheese. Lots of cheese.

Unfortunately, you show up as a big scary cat. Even when you offer something ‘free’ – like a free consultation or proposal – the customer can still see your whiskers poking out from behind the cheese. They know there’s a trap.

One way to avoid showing up as a cat is to carefully select the language you use. It helps to speak (or write) in language that is disarming, and reaches people on an emotional level.

Language that disarms is usually language that exposes you in some way. Language that exposes your weaknesses as well as your strengths.

Many people think that writing about your weaknesses will scare people away. I actually believe that in general, the opposite is true. Most people are sick and tired of being lied to by marketers and companies whose only concern is closing the sale, at whatever cost.

Verbalising who you can’t help is as important as verbalising who you can.

For example, I’m not a good fit for people selling known commodity products or services. If everyone understands what you do and mostly shops on price, you won’t get much value from working with me.

I’m also not a good fit for people who are scared to put their own voice into their marketing. It helps if you have a contrarian message, and are a little quirky.

It took me a long time to come to that assessment. But it was liberating to finally start saying it.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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