There’s a new fear in town. To be clear, our lives are already full of fear, thanks to two tumultuous years and a lingering feeling that the other shoe is about to drop.
But the generalized fear that comes with being a person in 2022 isn’t actually what we’re talking about.
We’re talking about what your members and prospects are truly scared of when they see your marketing email, early bird offer, or social media post.
They’re afraid that you’re wasting their time. Squandering their attention. Making promises you can’t keep.
If we’ve learned anything the past few years, it’s that we don’t have to allow people trifling with our time. Plundering our calendars. Taking our attention for granted. We don’t have to put up with awkward social interactions or obligatory events. We barely even have to leave our homes and offices.
All we have to do is sit, click, and Zoom. And even then, we can probably multi-task and knock something else off our to-do list.
How Did Time Get to Be Like This?
Think about it: Do you even answer phone calls from numbers or names you don’t recognize?
Our outlook has become, “If I don’t know you or have a reason to trust you, I assume you are wasting my time.”
What has happened to cause the erosion of trust, and the fear that others are wasting our time?
The simple answer is that our behavior over the past 2 years has conditioned us to regard business-related events that require real-life interaction with suspicion. Or if not suspicion, second-guessing.
This is because we have learned to accomplish so many tasks virtually. “Alone but together” has become our default. Plus, we’re busy. There’s normal busy, and then there’s, “You need to do the job of three people” busy. Many people are stuck in the latter. Time away from the office is a luxury they can’t afford.
There is a more complex answer, too. And it’s that technology, media, and retail have trained us that anything worth our time (or money) comes with a preview, a list of reviews, or a “cancel at any time” option.
Want to start watching a new series on Netflix or Hulu? Watch a preview before you commit to even 30 minutes!
Want to listen to an audiobook? Listen to a 4-minute sample first, to make sure the narrator’s voice doesn’t annoy you!
Want to order a new air fryer, pair of pajamas, or phone case? Read reviews so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment!
Everything worth something now offers a meaningful window into the experience or a way to test it out.
Everything, that is, except the products that most associations market.
How to Combat the Fear of Wasted Time
A decade ago, or perhaps even a few years ago, your organization could count on the benefit of the doubt.
Now you have to hustle in the marketplace, competing with, well . . . just about everyone and everything.
That means you’ve got to figure out how to tell the story of your event in a way that allows prospects to get a meaningful glimpse. In other words, you need to think about how to offer the equivalent of reading the book sample or watching the movie trailer.
Posting an agenda online doesn’t count. A couple of testimonials won’t cut it either. The same-old highlights reel isn’t enough.
How will you reach a jaded, exhausted, and skeptical population? How will you connect? How will you build trust, so that prospects know you value their time enough to offer them the same kind of ability to sample the experience?
We’ve seen the marketing that most associations are currently putting into the world, and we can tell you: 99% of it is missing this element.
How will you be different? How will you provide that missing piece?
Rottman Creative can help with your marketing. You just have to trust us. We get stellar results for associations who are willing to think and behave differently. Give us a call and let’s start a project together now!
. . . . Or not.
See what we did there? We assumed the benefit of the doubt. It’s annoying, right? Why would you trust us? You don’t even know us.
But if you’d like to get to know us, check out this free eBook New Tech Won’t Save Your Crappy Marketing. We are also working on another free eBook called 4 Pillars of Event Marketing to Fuel Attendance and Engagement, which is a lot of fun and will be out soon!
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