Marketing Like a Newborn: If You Keep Up That Annoying Screaming, You're Going to Be Ignored.
On November 2, I became a father.
Although the labor and the delivery might as well have been scripted by Stephen King himself, the end result seems to have been worth it. My wife, Lisa, and I had a baby girl named Leliana Belle, and so far it’s been a great experience.
However, the two days in the hospital didn’t really prepare us for the first night we brought her home.
Evidently, the accommodations we’d prepared weren’t up to her standards, so we ended up pulling an all-nighter trying to pacify an irate newborn with the very limited tools at our disposal. No amount of laps around the living room or rocking in the chair by her royal subjects seemed to satisfy the tiny, rampaging tyrant.
As I sat in that chair at 4 a.m., bloodcurdling screams just inches from my ears, I’m ashamed to admit that I missed the previous democratic regime of my wife and me; the new infant monarchy system was beginning to try my patience.
The next day, I immediately went to Walmart and made two purchases:
Even though a baby’s cry can be between 85 and 110 dB, when I entered my newly purchased "cone of silence," even her most spirited wails sounded like distant sighs. Problem solved!
After those first couple nights, Leliana’s been much more cooperative. However, a couple nights ago around 1 a.m., she again had some royal decrees that we couldn’t quite interpret. We decided that we’d let her go for around 10 minutes or so to see if she would calm herself down. Lisa and I both laid down to the faint sounds of what could only be infant torture coming through the baby monitor.
At 7:40 a.m., my alarm went off.
I think that the same thought gradually burrowed its way into our minds as Lisa and I drifted into consciousness, “did our two-week-old baby just sleep through the entire night?” As the fog of sleep lifted a bit further, another thing became apparent: Leliana was still crying!
Now, in order to avoid an uncomfortable visit from Child Protective Services, we’re going to go ahead and assume that during those six hours EVERY member of the DeSelm household was enjoying a full night of peaceful sleep. It’s at least logically possible, so we’re going with it.
Now, for those of you who need this metaphor spelled out, here’s the point. If your marketing plan involves screaming your marketing messages into the marketplace with no strategy or clear message, people will tune you out. They’ll either tune you out subconsciously, like we did when we fell to sleep to the sounds of Leliana’s crying. Or, they’ll tune you out consciously, using TiVo, ad-blockers or alternate media as their form of ear protection.
Too much of the marketing I see and hear is like a screaming baby...desperate for attention without a coherent or relevant message. We expect this from newborns, but don’t pretend that your company will get the same understanding. If you keep making noise just to be heard, without delivering messages that are relevant to your audience, it’s likely they will stop listening to you altogether.
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