Sunday, October 18, 2009

Repetition

Anyone who is a baseball fan has to wonder what is going on in the Angels' heads based on the way they are playing. I can't easily recall two games that were filled with more game-changing blunders than the two that I've watched between the Angels and the Yankees. It sometimes makes you wonder if the Angels have even practiced much.

Maybe they should take a cue from Direct TV. Craig Calcaterra put it in a humorous light in his NBC Sports blog Random observations from ALCS Game 2.

As I sipped my beer and waited for the commercial break to end, I wondered to myself: "is there a single person watching this game who said 'you know, I wasn't going to get Direct TV, but now that the Black Eyed Peas have weighed in on it, I'm going to take the plunge.' "

He is talking about, if you haven't watched the games yourself, the incessant commercials that feature Fergie and Will.i.am overdubbing their own music video (for the song Meet Me Halfway) with a plug for Direct TV. These commercials seem to be on every minute at least, and pretty soon you are tuning out the sound and thinking about the list of things you need to get from the grocery. ("Beer? Check. Toilet paper? Check. Chips? Check.")

Once, Fred Voccola who was at the time the Head of Sales at the now defunct Identify Software (and is now, contrary to what his LinkedIn profile reads, the President of Trellia Networks), said during a sales meeting that the reason why you see 100 Ford F150 commercials during the Super Bowl is because they know you will forget the commercial as soon as it stops showing. Having so many of them ensures that you remember the product long after the game.

If that's the case, then we should be remembering Direct TV for quite some time.

In all seriousness, we should all take a cue from this annoying marketing tactic. While there is definitely the risk of being annoying, I claim that there is a middle-ground where you can ensure that people know who you are or what you are selling without making them want to gouge their eyes out with the back of a spoon when they see you coming. In other words, develop a 15-30 second pitch to remind people of what you represent and then find some way to weasel it in to your conversation, preferably at the beginning.

The advantages of this approach? If designed properly, the pitch will constantly set expectations of what they can expect you to deliver. Or, more importantly, they will know what they should not expect you to deliver. And that may be the most important message of all.

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