Humility helps with marketing strategies

The world is full of braggarts. Why marketers and individuals still think being boastful is compelling or effective is puzzling. Few people enjoy being around arrogant souls. Why would anyone believe showboating is a good way to generate trust, interest and sales? It’s not good for marketing strategies either.

good marketing strategy requires humility
Humble is easy when you put life in perspective. Photo courtesy of image*after.

Some of the best – and funniest – approaches to marketing take a humble approach.

This positioning statement featured in a post by Darren Rowse had me laughing so hard I popped right over to her blog to see what she had to say: Mom-101. I don’t know what I’m doing either. Liz Gumbinner is witty in her blog commentary too.  Interestingly, she comes from an advertising background.

On the huge corporate front, decades ago Avis created a brilliant positioning strategy around the statement “We’re number two so we try harder.” Hertz was number one at the time. Reis and Trout offer some great stories and tips that still apply today in their book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind where they highlight this campaign and many other delightfully insightful creative approaches to enchanting consumers.

According to JD Powers, ACE is tops now, with Enterprise second, Hertz forth and Avis eighth. Zagat ranks Hertz on top, with National Car Rental and Avis right behind.

It matters less how others cite you, but more what you do with it.

Personally, I’m struggling with how to handle a Top 25 equine blog award for the Horse Sense and Cents® site. This was unexpected and a thrill. Still, it seems wrong to spotlight the award without a creative and engaging approach for the announcement – or something funny. Please post any ideas you may have on this one in the comments below.

Recently, I spotlighted Elizabeth Gilbert in a post on this blog. Her humble, smart and honest TED speech presentation compelled me to read Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. I’ll be buying more of her books as a result.

Today, more consumers are gravitating toward people and companies they like and trust. This means being real stands out among the masses of messages embracing manipulative selling approaches.

Advertising, sales and copy writing has always included a large contingency that endorsed hype as an essential ingredient for effective marketing strategies. This is short-term thinking. Good selling tactics have always been about building relationships. To do this, it’s important to be able to relate to your consumers. Shocking, isn’t it?

Here’s another fun slant from a Darren Rowse reader: Some chubby math: A Fat man + various meats x bacon – vegetarianism = one funny and entertaining food blog, Eating Cleveland. What a great site name for an overweight guy who talks about food selections in this city! Double entendres are wonderful for marketing – and curiosity – when you settle on a good one. Mark’s is hilarious. Of course, his tag line would be funnier if he didn’t call himself “funny and entertaining,” but instead went with something like “= a food blog shameless gluttons will relish.” Still, people identify with others who admit to being vulnerable. Mark does it well.

Life’s better when you can laugh at yourself, operate with integrity and recognize that today’s high praise may lead to tomorrow’s disappointment. If you can embrace flaws while communicating with prospects and customers as an understanding equal, you may find throngs sharing what you have to say while providing unsolicited business referrals. It’s amazing how an honest and open approach can help build a business. Of course, it helps if you’re funny too.

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