Yesterday, I wrote about overdoing negative messaging. Another marketing communications error is simply turning up the volume.

A recurring mistake amongst many marketers, faced with declining response, is simply to ‘yell louder’. That is, keep pumping out the same message, just buying more ads, trying more channels, etc. This article, Yelling Louder Won’t Sell Your Products, discusses the phenomenon in the context of consumer marketing.

As the author begins …

“Whether we’re talking to our 90-year-old grandmothers or our 3-year-old children, we all subscribe to a simple theory: if they can’t seem to hear us, we need to talk louder. Nursing homes and preschools across the nation are plagued by well-meaning shouters who are dying to be heard.

Sadly, our retail spaces and marketing outlets suffer the same fate. Companies assume if consumers aren’t responding to their messages, it’s simply because they haven’t heard them yet. But yelling louder isn’t necessarily going to bring customers in the door.”

The worst culprits?

“Those who insist they’re doing things right are the ones who tend to yell. Their stubborn belief in their messaging leads them to turn up the volume. They fail to realize that yelling quickly becomes noise, and consumers are selective listeners. Do you think the chore of listening to these companies is doing their sales figures any favors? They make themselves too easy to tune out.”

The author’s solution is a simple one … in fact, a ‘Duh!’ one … in fact, the best one … Listen to your customers!

Or, for our space …

Listen to your donors! Implement multiple and systematic ways to do that … from actually reading their incoming mail and listening to their calls, to informal gatherings and polling, to monitoring social net conversations, to formal market research.

Just listen. And what are you listening for?

I’d say first and foremost … any signal that your cause, mission, strategy, approach is losing relevance.

No amount of yelling or pumping up the volume is going to overcome losing relevance. No prospecting ‘silver bullet’ in the universe is going to rescue you from losing relevance to existing donors.


P.S. And there’s a built-in bonus from listening. Listening in and of itself nurtures donor commitment, therefore loyalty, therefore lifetime value, as Roger discusses here, where he talks about the 7 key drivers of donor commitment.

This article was posted in: Communications, Copywriting / creative, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment.
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