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Why informative marketing is (actually) stupid


Welcome to the information age. We are hungry for answers but inundated with data. We want knowledge that helps in our decision-making, but let’s be real here — sometimes we pay for what just feels right.

Have you ever made an impulse buy on Amazon simply because you wanted to and no one was there to stop you? You knew you didn’t need the 10-speed shoe polisher. It wasn’t in your budget but nonetheless, Amazon got paid.

Most small businesses like yours set out to market themselves with their go-to marketing message:

We’re the best! We have fantastic reviews! We have X number of years of experience in the industry!

While these statements may be true and desirable to your customers, informative marketing is not enough. The message itself, the audience it is presented to, or the way in which the message is presented, may not be what gets your customers in the door.

Here walks in “the irrational consumer.”

The Paradox of Choice

Back in 2013, the Atlantic published a timely article challenging the notion that consumers’ top priority is access to choice. 20th-century economists assumed that consumers want to be as informed as possible. The study’s psychologists posited, however, that in the information age, we have become fatigued by information and choice. The old paradox of choice has turned from the ultimate goal to a trap. We now have more choices than ever but struggling to know we’ve made the right choice. We are pressed to make more decisions than ever, and often we want to just go with what we like or what we know to save us the heartache of having taken a miscalculated risk.

The problem is that people don’t buy based on facts and figures, they buy on meaningful and sentiment-oriented factors like connection and engagement. The buyer may be rational at times, but is their rationality really in the driver’s seat?

How Your Customers Make the “Right Choice”

Have you ever invested in a stock, assuming the price would go up given its solid business practices and product offering, but the price dropped just because market sentiment shifted due to a seemingly unrelated event? This happens to many people. However, seasoned investors know that even if the stock’s underlying fundamentals are solid as steel, market sentiment often wins the day.

A great example of the case in the reverse – when Snapchat had its IPO back in 2017, it had no revenue or even a clear revenue plan but was valued at $24B in 2018. To investors, the tech giant’s IPO sounded like nonsense, but to marketers it was genius.

How You Decide is How They Decide

We have an even more personal example — think about the last time you bought a car. Of course, you looked at the specs: MPG, seating and trunk space, safety ratings, and so on, but that’s not what made you open your wallet for the down payment. There was something that you wanted, a desire or vision of your future self enjoying the vehicle. You liked the color, the smell of the leather interior, the fantasy of taking the engine at full speed.

But, can you remember what got you to the dealership in the first place? Why did you choose that specific dealership? It was likely a marketer that helped you make that initial decision and they didn’t use informative marketing.

Effective marketing requires a highly personal touch with a compelling directed at a clearly identified target audience through intentional channels. Car dealerships have made it a science to find and allure buyers– and they do it well.

Many small and growing businesses believe they just need to get the message in front of more people and those people will care about and believe your message. In the information age, informative marketing is hardly the case for success.

What We Do Differently

At Hot Dog Marketing, we help our clients laser in on their ideal customers and the most effective messaging to optimize their marketing. Before spending a dime on ads or SEO, we do a thorough audit and walkthrough of who their customer is, where they spend their time digitally and physically, what their greatest desires are, and speak to them when, where, and how they want to be spoken to, even if they don’t know it.

Good marketing is interesting. Great marketing is unseen.

Send us a message about how we can make your marketing seamless.