I saw this post on Facebook not that long ago:

drunk driving dog ad

This really is a powerful message. What struck me the most though was the comment about the ad copy itself:

“That hit me harder than any ad or commercial ever did.”

Well…duh!

This post is a perfect illustration of what I’ve been telling MSP owners for a very long time. Information doesn’t convert. Data doesn’t sell. Statistics have very little power.

This anti-drunk driving ad works because it taps into existing emotional pathways in the reader’s mind. In this case, the ad stirs up feelings of guilt and sadness around the idea of abandonment – a fundamental human fear that’s incredibly deep-rooted and pervasive across all cross-sections of our species.

No one feels what a dog actually feels, but we use empathy and the attribution heuristic to assume what a dog would feel in that situation. Abandoned by someone they love.

In that assumption, that imagining, we actually feel it, because the human brain cannot distinguish very well between imagined and actual experiences.

So I read the ad, and despite the fact that I don’t even own a dog, I feel like drinking and driving would potentially harm some innocent, loving being. It gets to me.

This is a powerful experiential message.

Now, think about how this anti-drunk driving ad relates to marketing something like cybersecurity.

You tell prospects over and over again that they need cybersecurity. You bombard them with statistics about data breaches and fines and hackers. But if you’re like most MSPs, this information isn’t getting you very far.

Look, you can tell someone that they’re probably going to die or get arrested if they drink and drive. You can quote statistics until you’re blue in the face.

If they were going to drink and drive, they’re still going to.

And If people can ignore death and jail time, they’re certainly able to ignore hackers and data breaches.

Our minds are incredibly good at suppressing information when it suits us, and that little thing called “confirmation bias” is powerful.

If someone is convinced that they can drink and drive with impunity, their mind will subconsciously reject any information that contradicts that idea.

Likewise, if someone believes that they don’t have to worry about cyber attacks or data breaches.

Where do these beliefs come from if they’re actually false?

Experience. The number one thing that shapes who we are and how we make decisions.

“I’ve driven drunk TONS of times. Nothing will happen!”

“I’ve been in business for YEARS! I’m not going to get hacked!”

These aren’t just simple ideas. These deeply-ingrained beliefs supported by experience and defended by a very powerful subconscious bias.

You do NOT defeat that with statistics.

You can only influence that kind of belief by resonating with your audience on an emotional level. (Remember, you’re not fighting logic and reason here, you’re fighting feelings and beliefs.) You fight it by making them FEEL like they’re going to make their beloved pet sad.

Marketing is mental and emotional Jiu Jitsu, at least it is when you’re doing it at a high level. When your marketing has evolved beyond scrapping for Facebook ‘likes’ and sending out the same boring emails that five-hundred other MSPs are sending out, you start to realize that marketing is all about people.

That’s why my lifetime of studying human behavior has made me an exceptional marketing professional. While others in my field worry about the best way to scrape emails from LinkedIn, I devote my time to understanding why people make decisions and how to influence their choices.

At the end of the day, that is the part of marketing that makes your business grow.

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Categories: MSP Marketing Blog