Should advertisers know their place?


So far this year, we have discussed several aspects of the importance of communication in every day life.  Where most people only think of communication as speech-making, we discussed that the most important communication is in our relationships.  Well, so far, we have only discussed this in general terms.  Starting this month, I'm going to begin our discussions on specific areas of life.  This is a discussion so I encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings on the issues I'll post the rest of this year. This month is Business Communication Month here at Communication FUNdamentals, as is this month's AoE Seminar Panel with Jill Hart from CWAHM.com (Christian Work at Home Moms) and her readers. So to start off the month I'm going go in depth on an article I wrote a while back called, "12 Deadly Communication Sins of Advertising."  I'll post on each of these marketing techniques during this month so that we can dissect it and discuss it in depth. Since today isn't March yet, I'd like to take this opportunity to post the beginning of the article to get you started: 12 Deadly Communication Sins of Advertising by JoJo Tabares You don't have to be a marketing genius to be able to spot a bad ad. Every consumer can pick them out; they are the ones that annoy us. They interrupt our day and waste our time. So why should we even have a discussion about bad ads? Because identifying a bad ad is what our customers do. We on the other hand are often oblivious to the miscommunication a bad ad can send to our customers! As small business owners, we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what a good ad is. Finding the best possible combination of words, concepts and persuasion for each audience/venue is a daunting task and I don't even pretend to be a marketing expert. However, as a communication expert, I know well the consequences of annoying a customer with salesy hype at the most inopportune time. By following some simple rules you can avoid making some of the most common business communication errors. Error #1. Being an Uninvited Guest Generally an ad, sales pitch or sales call is an unwelcome interruption for our customers. Even if they sign up for a double opt in eNewsletter, they are interrupted by their daily email to find our communication awaiting their immediate attention. We small business owners need to be sensitive to that. If we are to persuade this potential customer to take a look at our wares, we must communicate that what we have to offer is worth the interruption. Our first mistake is merely assuming that all of our customers are eager to see or hear what we have to say. When we understand that we are merely an unwelcome interruption to their day, we can begin to tailor our message accordingly. First we need to capture their attention in the headline. This headline must be tailored to the specific group of potential customers to whom you are speaking. Make sure that it addresses their needs! In an effort to sell more widgets, we small business owners tend to want to appeal to a wide range of customers. Think about how you like to be addressed. Do you like to be spoken to as if you are one of the masses? Or do you appreciate it when someone takes the time to find out what you need? We will discuss the body of the ad later on. Another common error of being uninvited is to post an ad on an email group like Yahoo inappropriately. Many groups do not allow ads at all. Some groups allow ads only on specific days. To post an ad on a non ad day is almost an unforgivable sin. Spam is a big issue for people these days. It is vital to get to know your groups before you begin posting in order to avoid making a very bad first impression. Most of these ads don't get read at all. These ads are quickly deleted and sometimes members will email the moderators asking that *justice be done*. :D Be careful not to leave a bad taste in your customer's mouth or you will not eat of the fruit of success. Bad press travels ten times faster than good news and about a hundred times as often! Along these same lines is the dreaded sales follow-up phone call during the dinner hour. If you call your customer on the phone, always make sure to call at a convenient hour. Don't call during dinner! Yes, you will be sure to catch her in, but an old sales proverb goes like this: Hungry customer with dinner waiting is not in the market for whatever it is you sell! Have you ever encountered a sales message that didn't understand that presumed too much?  One that didn't understand that it was an unwelcome interruption and demanded you drop everything to attend to it?  Perhaps it was a phone call?  What happened and how did it make you feel about their offer/product?  Please share! *SUBSCRIBE HERE*: for More Communication Fun, FREE Gifts and Exclusive Offers!

9 comments


  • Diane Markins

    I think we’re getting so used to the garbage in our programming on tv that we will allow garbage in the ads they inflict upon us. I just saw a pepsi spot where the guy is repeating (in his head), “I want to sleep with her…” over and over about the girl he’s out with. Great family-friendly message, right?


  • jojosblog

    Very good point, Carla. Those phone calls are so annoying interrupting your day. And if you say you’re not interested, they should respect that.


  • Carla

    While I generally like spam. . . lots of humor fodder plus I’ve gotten some really great stuff through it. . . I don’t like unsolicited phone calls. The spam in my email box is controllable by me. Okay. I know some folks gotta make a living and telephone sales is a valid way to do it. However, what really gripes me is when you say, “No, thank you. I’m not interested,” and they keep reading their )#(*$&)#(* script for the next phase of the pitch. You say it again. They keep reading and usually up the ante. If I’m patient that day, I’ll say it three times. Then I’ll hang up if they don’t accept what I’m saying. If they get antsy with me or just keep going, I may hang up anyway. In direct sales, you have to learn to gracefully accept a no. And it may not even be a real “NO.” It may just be a “not now.” Sometimes, I’ll ask them to call me back at a specific time and if they still keep reading that doggone script, that’s it. DIAL TONE!


  • Valerie Watne

    Loved this post! I’m joining Carla about the phone calls; however, the automated ‘donation’ pick up calls that require you to call a different number if you want off the call list bugs me the most! So silly. This aggressive society, I tell you. My yahoo group gets people who want to subscribe all the time – I especially love it when they write in the ‘permission to join’ box “Let Me Join” – like I’m gonna, you know? Very entertaining article, Jo Jo. Glad I’m on wordpress now so I can follow your blog :)


  • Kathy

    It’s ironic to see you right about this as I recently did a quickie blog about this very topic. Glad to see you elaborate, JoJo.

    It seems to be marketers and sellers get so revved up and excited about their product/service that courtesy goes out the window and good service follows right behind it.

    As Carla and Cindy mentioned, Spam me all you want. I can always rely on the delete button. What I don’t regard as good service are the marketers who hound me and chase me to do something purely for their gain without a notion of what I am about.. I have one specific jewlery sales lady in mind. She constantly hounds me to sell for her company. Always at inappropriate times too.. I don’t even like their jewlery. She never bothered to ask me if I liked it, needed additional income, had free time, etc… Huge turnoff there.


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