You’ve probably heard a little about the verbal sparring going on between President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney. One reporter has dubbed it the “Thrilla Near the Hilla” (a play on the famous Ali-Frazier bout). Cheney’s not been the most well-recieved or well-liked Vice President in history, that’s for sure. But there’s something to be learned from his approach to this showdown.
Obama maintained his cool, calculated delivery while talking about interrogation methods and national security. He appealed more to logic in his arguments. Cheney, on the other hand, resorted to what some might call fearmongering. According to Washington Post colujmnist Dana Milbank, the former Vice President used the word “attack” 19 times, “danger” and “threat” six times apiece, and 9/11 an impressive 27 times. Believe it or not, this is a brilliant strategy.
Studies have shown that people buy much more often based on their emotions, and only use logic an reason to back up their decisions. Fear is probalby the strongest emotion, and it’s something you ought to use in your marketing (without shame, by the way).
My guess is that you got into business for a reason. You believe your widgets are the best, or you provide better service than anybody else in your city or industry. You don’t want anyone to make the mistake of buying from your competitors — all of whom make crappy widgets and offer very poor service. People deserve the experience you provide — they NEED what you provide. They ought to be fearful of buying substandard widgets or settling for subpar service.
When you educate the public about what they should look for (and what they should look OUT for) when shopping for whatever widget or service you provide, you’re playing on their fear and emotions. Perhaps they’ll lose something by not buying from you again — service, status, etc. That’s fear, and it’s a great strategy when used appropriately.