Getting the Message Across: What works best?

Two llamas--not getting the message across

What is the best way of getting the message across? Marketing gurus list the principles of good marketing—A I D A—a message has to

  • Grab Attention
  • Keep people Interested
  • Make them Desire what you are offering
  • And make them Act

So we all work hard on that perfect message, crafting what we are going to say, and how we are going to say it, what methods we’ll use and then …
…nothing happens.
So is it just that we’ve got it wrong—if we learn more, work harder, go on courses, will we get that response?

Or are people just too stupid to understand what we’re saying?

Stopping smoking: What didn’t work

An interesting experiment carried out in the USA andBangkok tested the effectiveness of methods of delivering a non-smoking message. The results were measured by the number of new contacts to the anti-smoking helpline. Watch it here or read on…

First, smokers on the street were approached by children who talked to them about the negative sides of smoking. 90% of the people resented this. Even when the stop smoking leaflets were thrust in their hands, only 50% took them. Then, most tore up the leaflets afterwards. So that wasn’t a good way of getting the message across.

A different way of getting the message across

So the scientists tried something different. Kids approached the smokers with a fake cigarette and asked for a light.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the smokers almost all started telling the kids not to smoke, and all the reasons why they shouldn’t.
The kids asked “If you care about us, why don’t you care about yourself?” and gave them the leaflet, which they took.
The new referrals to the anti-smoking helpline went up.

The message is—giving people more information or reiterating logical arguments often makes them defend their own position. (If you’d like more information on this, contact us.)

Other research comes up with similar findings: the more you bombard people with information, the less likely they are to change their minds.

So what can we do?

We need to work backwards through AIDA
Action: If people really got your message what would they do? Start with the end in mind–why would make them make them take action?
Desire: Why would they want to do it? If it doesn’t benefit them, they won’t do it.
Interest: Why would they want to find out more?   Is what you’re offering what they are interested in? If not what could you offer that would?
Attention: What would catch their attention—how relevant is your offer to what they need?

If our message isn’t getting the response we want, it is worth thinking about things from the customer’s view.
Henry Ford (who sold a lot of cars) said

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.

So to summarise, if you feel ignored—who or what are you ignoring?

We can’t change other people’s behaviour, we can only affect it by changing our own. You can moan about the way other people respond to you or you can change your message and your attitude until you get the response you want. Do this by

  • Instead of shouting louder to get attention…start listening
  • Look at it from the customer’s point of view
  • Turn AIDA on its head

By the way, it  works with kids…even teenagers.