6 Reasons Why People are Stupid

Last week I started on a positive note. I wrote a nice article about how people in general are smart. That’s true in some ways. But, I think you’ll probably agree with me more this week. We all have experience to the contrary. In more ways than not, people are actually pretty jaw-droppingly stupid. A person is smart. People are dumb. Here’s what we need to do in advertising to help them keep up.

#1 – People can’t understand big words – This depends on your product. Try to keep your wording simple. Stay away from phrases in other languages (even if you’re certain everyone will understand.) The rule you always need to follow is this. Always write the way your prospective client speaks. That may mean that you don’t mention terms like “Pièce de résistance,” or “Necromancy.” Big loss, I know.

#2 – People complain about everything – Almost everything is offensive to somebody. The sad thing is, businesses allow these few to dictate their advertising campaigns. So many fabulous ideas die early because a complaint comes in within the first few days on air. People are dumb. They will complain. Learn to take their complaints as a good sign, because they are.

#3 – People can be fooled. – Not everybody, but there are a huge amount of people out there that will believe anything. Enough people, that you can make a great living off of them. It’s unethical, but it happens. These people will swallow any deal you offer them, no matter how outrageous it sounds. Watch afternoon television advertising and you’ll see what I mean.

#4 – We believe the lies we tell ourselves – I wrote an article on this a while ago. It’s a mental phenomenon called the “illusion of truth.” Basically, it proves that people will believe something moreso if they’ve believed it for a long time. In fact, they’ll refuse to change their belief even when confronted with proof. This basically means people are stubborn. If you need to change a belief, you’ll have a hard time in your advertising. Not impossible, but difficult.

#5 – We have short attention spans – This is probably our fault as advertisers for being a little too boring. Generally, people will not listen to a straight up no-frills informational ad. I don’t mean an exceptional no frills ad. I mean the type that says “come on down to ______ today because we have cars with great rebates.” We need to trick people into listening. People are willing to hear what you have to offer. But, we have to treat them like Pavlov’s dog. Offer them a treat before you tell them about yourself. That might be a little humor, surprise, or drama. Just give them something to perk their interest, and do it fast!

#6 - We're Forgetful - If you don't stay on the air consistently people will forget about you in a hurry. People may not even remember an advertising campaign with good frequency and consistency. I like to trick people into remembering a clients contact information by providing an easy to remember "redirect website." Basically, instead of using your less memorable website, buy a new one that sends traffic to yours. The benefit is in memory retention. It's the same thing we all did when we tried to remember stuff for exams in schools. We make tricks. So, if you have an ad talking about how your business replaces "dead furniture," go buy "furniturefuneral.com" and use it as a redirect. More info on this here.

These obstacles are not too big to overcome. We just need to know that they are there. When we take them seriously and prepare for them, we neutralize them. If you need a hand taking the temperature of your prospective clients, I’d love to help you out. Just click on “Contact Us!”