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Fear

July 18th, 2012 1 comment

Fear is in the name of a rock band. Fear is at the heart of the horror movie genre. Fear is the name of a Cape and a River in North Carolina. But for the purposes of this column, fear is a human emotion and is one of the Five Motivators; one that savvy marketers should carefully and thoughtfully use.

Fear possed in MHMSM

Books could be written about the use of fear in marketing and sales. Fear can be used as a bold attempt at manipulation. But fear can also identify something real that can benefit the target audience; an example might be that you teach a child to be cautious around the fire of that gas stove, because failure to do so is dangerous.

Fear can be used by itself, or it can also be used in tandem with the other 5 Motivators.

Fear can paralyze, so as a marketer, caution is warranted. Fear can be used with humor, an example will follow at the end of this column. Fear can also be used to scare someone into action.

Fear may be morally neutral. It can also be bad or good. So fear can be used properly or it may be abused or misused. For the record, we do not advocate an abuse of the Fear motivator for our clients. At the same time, one would be foolish to overlook a reality of human nature, right? If you have doubts where the lines are or how to use fear properly, please, call a professional.

The more you know, the more you can use what you know, the more you can grow.

There are different levels of fear. You can be scared to death by some thing or some one. There is also the insightful maxim that:

"The fear of loss can be greater than the desire for gain."

Let's look at that maxim for a moment.

Fear is used routinely by lenders and loan brokers, as an example. What, you may say? Absolutely, let me prove it to you.

When you tell your audience – via advertising or one-on-one in person – that "rates are at historic lows, hurry and get those rates locked in or you could miss out." Guess what? That is an example of the use of fear in communication. “Don't pay more for your loan, hurry in while rates are low, because you can pay less now and for years to come.”

Let me segue for just a moment to another obvious but all-too-often-overlooked fact.

Politicians de facto use marketers. When we see a candidate's campaign say, "If you elect that person, horrible things are going to happen," that's an attempt at the use of fear in politics. Don't get me wrong. The threat – and thus the motive for fear – may be real! Or the effort to create fear may be a mirage or fantasy. So it is up to us to use our God-given reason to discern and apply the defense to irrational fear; to see if there is 'logic' behind the fear, or not.

As someone who has taught management as well as worked with sales professionals for decades, let me say that fear can be a good thing. There are times when we should 'be afraid' of a consequence. WWII is a historic example. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, having watched the Japanese roll across parts of the Pacific and the Nazis roll across much of Europe, we needed a healthy fear in America to push us into action. What other option did we as a nation have? Surrender? Never!

So fear can goad us to act when it is in our best interest to do so.

I will invite you back another time for another look at the five motivators. We may dabble more with the fear topic from time to time too.

Don't be afraid to call or email Tony or myself. Don't be the last community, retailer, builder, lender, supplier, service provider or developer in your market to use the powerful tools we have to offer…

…remember my promise above to use fear with humor? 😉 Are you scared yet? ##

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Tim Connor
Marketing & Sales,Website,AdvertisingMHSpeakerTrainer-Manager
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