Examining Marketing Tone and Pain Versus Pleasure


Marketing toneThere are many considerations in brainstorming different approaches to a fresh marketing campaign. Myself, I try to run through the basic principles and see what fits for the message or feel I’m after. Almost always, I end up on the points of pain versus pleasure, marketing tone, and how most people will do anything to avoid immediate pain over future pain or pleasure.

No this doesn’t mean that my campaigns all focus on displaying pain to drive them. But it does give me insight into possible directions to explore and potential pleasure points around which I can focus my message. Currently, I’m working on my own company’s social media campaigns. I’m creating a message on how my company’s skillsets and offerings can enhance the lives of our clients. Sure, it’s easy to say we can help increase their bottom line, but it’s the other things we can offer that enrich our clients’ lives. This is what intrigues and excites me most when exploring my marketing message.

marketing tone ideasWorking with an experienced marketing agency offers a lot of perks. First, there is never a shortage of ideas to be shared. While we have a lot them for sure, for me the message I’m after most often a positive one: While you aren’t grueling over the day to day monotony of bid adjustments (pain), you’ll have more time to focus on pursuing new clients, booking new meetings or even spending the afternoon with your children.

Effective marketing tone is often not too sappy or too scary but conveys an honest message of how your offerings can benefit others.

I’m sure we’ve said it before but, we focus on the day to day work so you can focus on the future of your business.

It’s All About the Marketing Tone

So, what does it mean to strike the right tone in your marketing message? Having worked in the industry for over 20 years, I’ve seen many good marketing messages ruined by going too far. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a video that was effective in giving me “the feels” (emotional attachment to the situation) only to see it ruined in the end when something ridiculous happens. The gaff removes me from the message and puts me in a state of disbelief, thinking, “Oh right, like that would ever happen.”

marketing tone family reunionLet me share an example of this (lights dim and the projector rolls): A young man–obviously military–gets off a plane and enters an airport terminal. He’s looking frantically around in search of his wife and young daughter. The camera pans to wife and daughter doing the same from the other side of the terminal. After a few moments, the spouses notice each other and hurry towards one another with tears in their eyes. After a brief hug, the dad bends down and takes his daughter into his arms, obviously overcome with joy.

The daughter reaches down into her backpack and pulls out her doll, saying, “Sarah says she’s been missing you too.” The dad looks at the doll and responds, “I’ve been missing her as well.” Reaching over he takes the doll from his daughter and gives it a big hug. He smiles at his daughter as he hands the doll back and scoops her up into his arms.

Walking out of the airport, the daughter watches a family of four as they look in her direction. All have big smiles on their faces and it’s clear they just saw the emotional scene that just took place. All at once, they give her a thumbs up and she responds with the same.

Working with an experienced marketing agency offers a lot of perks. Click To Tweet

Corny, right? My point is you can go too far in your messaging—even to the point of making it ineffective. Had they cut the video after the man scooped his daughter up, you would have related to it better. But in this example, they took the message one step too far and made it corny. In my opinion, there is no better way to kill a message than to have it end with a marketing tone that is completely unrelatable and staged.

Recommendations for Creating New Messaging

So, what does that mean for you when you’re creating your message? My suggestion would be to create a list of potential pain and pleasure points for your product or service and start there. Make sure the message you are projecting is something that is very relatable to the audience you are trying to reach.

Let’s take another example and see if we can craft a decent marketing message.

Let’s use a client that teaches Yoga. We’ll name her Jenni. Jenni wants to create an ad campaign to reach out and let people know she’s starting new classes for all experience levels. She first starts out by listing the pleasures people could expect from taking her class.

  1. Feel better physically
  2. Positive response from others
  3. Fitness community where everyone feels like a family
  4. Better health from a medical standpoint
  5. Feel mentally recharged after a workout

She then lists negative feelings:

  1. Takes too much time to work out
  2. Others might laugh at them for not being in shape
  3. Feel bad physically
  4. Feel bad emotionally
  5. Have the feeling it is never going to work
  6. Pain of having to put in the effort
  7. Possible medical issues from being out of shape

Ok, so we’ve got a small list of pros and cons that we can start using to craft our message. We already know that people will go to great lengths to avoid pain, but do we really want to craft our message in the morbid realm of how people might feel hurt?

Crafting a Winning Approach

A much better marketing tone approach would be to understand what drives them to take the negative actions they already do take, then match the product or services to solving those issues. In this case, I think a good message would be to match some of the more common issues with an easy solution.

(…and action!)

directing tone of pain or pleasureThe camera starts out in a living room where there is a lady watching TV. Not overly happy but not outright sadness. Just kind of “there.” She is watching a commercial about exercise equipment. It looks like she’s contemplating, but ultimately sighs and flips the channel.

Later that evening, while still sitting in front of her tv and browsing on her tablet, she notices our client’s ad for a local yoga business. She again gives a small sigh and almost clicks past the ad, but at the last second, she nods with an “ok, let’s try this” motion. (Focus on the lady talking on the phone and saying, “ok then, I’ll see you there, Monday at 7:00.”

Monday comes and you see her entering the building, ready for her new class. She is politely greeted at the door. You can see she feels comfortable and at home as she starts to chat with the other participants before class. Lastly, you see her walking out of the building with more confidence than what she walked in with. Looking back, she tells the people walking out behind her, “See you Wednesday!” With a smile on her face, she reaches for the keys to her car.

…Fade out.

Marketing Tone Analysis

So, what have we done here? We have created a situation that is very relatable to a lot of people. We have shown that starting something like this can be hard because it is a commitment. Ultimately, though, we’ve shown that once you jump in and hit the ground running it becomes easier. We are introducing the marketing tone of pleasure by demonstrating a decision to finally do something good for oneself.

I hope this has given you a starting point to understand that marketing and one’s marketing tone is all about the message and how relatable it is to your potential customer. Try to make your message as relatable as possible but be careful not to overdo it and ruin it.

Written by Mikel R.

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