Show. Don't Tell.

The best way to change someone’s mind is to show them something, not to tell them. When my daughter’s were young, I could talk to them all day long about the type of boyfriend or future husband they should aspire to find. But the best way I could teach them this life lesson was by being loving toward them and toward my wife. Showing not telling. 

If I wanted them to learn the lesson of hard work, they could observe me and my daily work ethic and that lesson, over time, would sink into their own way to approach their work. They could observe both a mom and a dad, working hard every day, in our own ways and absorb our lesson better than any finger-wagging approach. 

Same in marketing
I don’t think this approach is any different in marketing or business communications. There was a wonderful article about the founder of the Minneapolis based advertising agency Fallon describing a great example in the Harvard Business Review. In the case study, Pat Fallon describes the problem that H&R block was having convincing people to switch tax preparers.  Apparently most of us are resistant to change tax preparers. It is just too much of a hassle. How can you motivate people to change their behavior? 

In the story, the agency came upon an idea where they would go to a town and offer to take a second look at tax returns for an entire community. They picked a city with a wonderful tie-in, Greenback, Tennessee to make the point.  They set up shop in a gymnasium and invited people in with their returns. They filmed the event and created a mini-documentary that they used in advertising. They found a big savings for the community of $14,683 dollars.

They didn't say they could save people money. They showed them.

How is your business showing its value proposition?  Have you found a way to demonstrate something you say all the time? Can you move from talking and get customers helping you tell your story? There is power in this lesson for marketers from small to mid to big sized businesses. 
  1. Can you turn something you say into a demonstration that you can film? 
  2. Don't get hung up on making it a fancy documentary. You can do wonders with an iPhone today and some basic editing software. 
  3. Get your message on social media or in places where the message is relevant to the audience. 
  4. Stop talking about what you do. Show it. 

Jeffrey Slater

Do you have a challenging marketing issue that should be as easy as sliced bread to communicate?  Perhaps you could use a marketing coach to help you show instead of tell your story. Connect with me through Clarity to schedule time to talk. 

This is from a photo of me with my daughter Fanny teaching a Hebrew School class how to bake challah in 1991. 

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