My dear wife Rona often receives bad marketing pitches, but this one takes the cake. Firebox.com advertises lights in the form of Scrabble tiles, and here’s how it describes them:
- “Way less boring than the board game”
- “Includes 60 reusable letter stickers. That’s roughly 5 swear words worth”
- “Will fool people into thinking you’re a bonafide [sic] wordsmith”
Rona and I take this personally! We met over a game of Scrabble. (She beat me by 120 points, but I’ve learned her secrets since then.)
We don’t find the board game boring. We host a neighborhood Scrabble game every month.
We don’t have to “fool people.” We are bona fide wordsmiths–the kind who know that “bona fide” is two words, and what it means!
Okay, I get it: this company wants to be edgy. They advertise themselves as “not for everyone.” They may not be for me. But what’s the point of insulting the people who are most likely to buy your product?
You Can Do Better Than That!
You can learn from bad marketers. You can learn how to do better. Whether you are marketing a product or a service (and whether you’re commercial or nonprofit), take another look at the message you’re sending.
This time, forget what you like. Think about your audience.
If they find it insulting–or even just puzzling–it doesn’t matter how clever or creative you thought you were being. You’re losing points with the people whose opinions matter. Keep your audience in mind, and you can play to win.