This little gem works everywhere. Consider how this statement applies to the news industry, specifically the cable news industry — CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the like. These networks have to have stories to discuss, or else they have dead air — and nobody’s going to tune into that. So they fill their time with shows featuring pundits and pedants; and because the ratings services are keeping an eye on the number of people watching, they’re very careful about what they broadcast. They need to sell ads viewed by large numbers of people, so they can make the money they need to operate.
As of this writing, Fox News consistently funny science videos for kids vsits at the top of the ratings in most prime-time categories. It’s simply the most entertaining news network. They’ve done the best job of not only providing content that people are interested in, they’ve done a better job of entertaining people. That allows them to distribute the information they want to distribute in the way they prefer to distribute it. On the other end of the dial is NPR. Many people knock National Public Radio because they think it’s dull. The pace is deliberate, unexcited — and boring. One of the reasons that’s true is because it’s publicly funded. They get their funds from a source that requires them to be unexciting — and they don’t have to fight for ratings. So while they can be very educational, most of the time their hosts are tiresome to listen to. To them, education comes before entertainment.
The business lesson here is that if you want to get people to give you money, they have to pay attention to you first. You don’t want your message to be boring or come across as monotonous. In the direct-mail world, if your copy isn’t entertaining or interesting to read, people won’t make time for it. They’re too busy to be bored by you. You don’t offer anything to shake them out of the daze they’re in as they go about their mundane lives. To get their attention, you have to entertain them. Once you’ve captured their attention, then you can sell them on your offer.
A word of caution here: be careful not to be a comedian. That’s not to say you can’t tell jokes, but trying to be funny doesn’t necessarily help your sales message. You don’t have to make your prospects laugh; just capture their imaginations and keep their attention. Find a way to get them to step out of their busy world and listen to your message. To do that, your copy has to be exciting. You have to grab them by the throat and pull them in. Keep them reading, especially when the copy goes on for multiple pages. The only reason a person will continue to read is if they’re excited. Remember: people buy for just two main reasons. First, they crave or desire a certain benefit. It can be related to money, health, romance, or whatever; the benefit depends on the person.
The other reason people buy is to make the pain go away. In this sense, pain can be not having enough money; a sickness; or the fearing that as they get older, they’ll be abandoned. We fear or crave so many things. You, as a marketer, need to understand that people will gladly give you lots of money if you can give them either the benefits they want, make the pain go away, or both.
Nowadays, most people feel apathetic toward sales messages. They’re busy, they’re overwhelmed, and they’ve built up an immunity towards them. That means that to get to them, you really have to go over the top. You have to wake them up and shake them up. Part of doing that is entertaining them. Don’t be afraid to do so. Don’t hold back. People want to be entertained, and we’re in the business of giving them what they want. Some of the highest paid people on the planet are entertainers. Think about that.
With the digital invasion that is happening in our lives, one aspect that we never imagined as kids to change namely the basic process of reading a book has undergone a complete makeover. It was always hardback or paperback. Hardback mostly if it was a gift or some gigantic book, paperback if we got it for ourselves. You opened the cover, read the prologue, checked the front and back cover once again and then got on with it.
Then E-books stormed in. Although electronic documents have been used since the 60’s at the latest, the change from a limited audience and limited purpose tool to an alternative to the conventional printing and publishing methods did not take place until the internet took a place in our daily lives. Today however, E-books are altering the way we read. If the general book reading public was reluctant to adopt the digitised version of print into their lives, the knowledge and experience of the potential advantages that E-books provide have made the people grow closer to this new way of reading.
Bookstores are everywhere. Internet is even more widely available in most of the civilized world. If you download your books on your E-book reader, then all that stops you from reading is the lack of electricity. Sitting at home and you hear about this great new book and your nearest bookstore is half an hour away? Bet you wouldn’t mind downloading it instantly and getting done with a hundred pages by the time it would have taken you to travel back and forth from the bookstore. Also, old books are not going to go ‘out of print’ digitally because they are never really printed. E-books win.
Store 10 books on your device (change the number according to your reading speed and frequency) and you are good to go for a few weeks to almost any corner of the planet. Would you be happily carrying so many books? Not really. E-books win.
This is not as one sided as it may sound at first. You are standing inside a train, what would you prefer a reader or a book? Sprawled out on the couch on a rainy Sunday, what would you want to have in your hand? Are you ever going to prepare for your entrance examination with an E-book reader? No because you would be partially blind by the time you finish studying. Sure, in a dark room the E-book wins, but I wouldn’t read it on the bed at night because the chances are I will drop it or sleep on it and break it. Print wins here.
Cost -This is slightly funny. Business models and money making logic of the corporate big wigs in the publishing business have made sure that E-books which cost nothing to print and don’t involve any shipping charges end being more expensive than a real book. What’s the math behind it, you figure. Print wins (Yes most E-books are slightly cheaper than print, but that’s no excuse for a significant chunk to be pricier than printed books). However we will have to consider the fact that all fictional works dated before 1900 is free as it is in the public domain and is not owned by anyone. Imagine all of Shakespeare, Dickens, Mark Twain’s works for free. Hmm, lets just do away with a tie.
A huge advantage in the feel good factor for E-books. The knowledge that the heart warming literary masterpiece in your hand is actually a dead tree is a very disturbing thought and E-books have definitely gained a lot of supporters for causing significantly lesser damage to the environment. E-books all the way.
E-books are so adaptable to translations into all kinds of languages you can think of that print doesn’t even offer a passive resistance in this case. Print also cannot hold a candle to the various tricks that digital has at its disposal like text to speech conversion, for the visually impaired, font changes for changing reading environment etc. E-books win.
You may not admit it, but secretly inside your heart, you wish that you had a mind blowing library at home with all shapes and sizes of books arranged on wooden racks, a couple of gaps in the middle and the latest book you were reading kept slightly tilted to the side. If your favourite niece is celebrating her birthday, you want to gift wrap her favourite book and you can be sure she will keep it forever. Print wins hands down.
So, after so much analysis, what do you feel the results should be? Honestly, I don’t know. Depending on which of the above factors matter more to you, the winner changes from person to person. E-books are certainly spearheading a revolutionary change in our culture. And the way technology is reinventing itself, it won’t be long before E-books slowly win over in every criteria. I have an idea, how about an E-book reader that looks and feels exactly like a bound book, and the digital content appears on the page like it would on a normal book? That would be a Nobel Prize right there.