Yesterday morning I went to a great session called, "The Art and Science of Persuasive Marketing," and now know exactly why so many of the brochures that pile up on my desk don't compel me to spend hours perusing them. Led by Denise Paccione, president, The Marketing Design Group, we were reminded of a marketing basic that hardly anyone follows: It's not enough to talk about the "what" of your show (number of booths, all the great speakers, a dazzling location, etc., etc.)—you also have to talk about the "why," or what's in it for the audience. It's easy to become so engrossed in what you're doing that you forget that it may not be so obvious to others how all that "what" translates into the "why attend," especially for new prospects (repeaters may have an easier time doing that translation, since they too already know what they get out of it from past experience). "You need to talk about the features" of the show in a marketing piece, said Paccione, "but you also need to talk about the benefits. If you can't put 'You will...' in front of it, it's not a benefit."
She had us look through a bunch of brochures on our own, and many either didn't have any benefit statements, or if they did, they were so general as to be meaningless. As Paccione said, "It's like a baby—everyone thinks their baby is the cutest thing there is. And your show is your baby. You need to have more objectivity, look at your marketing through the eyes of someone who doesn't need to attend your event."
Another excellent tip that very few heed: Make sure your back cover is as good as the front, because people always flip to where the mailing label is. "It's a great place to put a synopsis of benefits," Paccione said.
The best part of the session, for me anyway, was when she had each table talk about the examples of their own marketing materials they brought in, and gently critique them given what we'd learned. Since no one at my table had brought any examples (oops), we had a great, far-ranging talk about everything from e-mail list fatigue to specific campaigns we were thinking about launching. We didn't even break for the break, but kept on going through it until the next session was about to start.
My favorite quote from this session: "The only person who reads through a densely packed, text-heavy brochure is the one who finds the typo." Ain't that the truth?