How to Properly Manage Expectations – Part One

One: You’re the marketing manager of an up-and-coming investment firm.

Two: Not many people know about your firm.

Three: Once people know of your firm, they love it and invest American dollars.

Four: You have a superior who appreciates marketing, but pressures you for sales.

Five: You’re a 34-year old husband of one and father of two with career goals.

Six: You have a mustache.

Of course, you have a comprehensive marketing plan, budget and timeline for action, but let’s zoom into that plan to page six, third paragraph, under “print ads.” You have an ad due in a glossy, four-color business pub and need to decide what you want to accomplish. What are your hopes? What are the goals for this half-page ad?

Let’s properly manage our expectations.

There are options. (Oh, goody.) First, you need to decide what you want the audience to do. THINK, FEEL or DO? All three? Not a chance, unless you want to anger the gods of advertising. Please choose just ONE of these goals. Let’s explain them:

THINK – This type of ad communicates information. It’s about some breakthrough, function or factual information that is compelling. This will be, most likely, a “positioning” ad. The consumer’s headspace needs to be enlightened – if they only knew how awesome your kale chips were, they’d buy.

FEEL – Sometimes the most effective way to motivate your audience is through emotion. This ad demonstrates feelings, is self-expressive and tells a story you can’t seem to ignore. Many people refer to ads like these as “branding” ads. And you might be surprised how motivational a little emotion can be. Cha-Ching.

DO – You want action? I can’t hear you. DO YOU WANT ACTION? If you need folks to call, stop by now, visit, click or hurry to get two donuts for the price of one, then maybe a direct appeal is for you. Now, of course, we all want sales. We all want hordes of customers pushing through our doors with burning wads of cash. But using a “promotional or direct response” ad is 1) An art, and 2) May not be right for your brand or experience.

Here’s a gravely important truth: The goal of advertising is NOT sales.

The goal of MARKETING is sales. Advertising, as a component of marketing, is mostly concerned with things related to sales. I’m talking about wonderful, candy-like things such as awareness, enticement and education. They LEAD to sales. And that’s what we wish to do – to LEAD our audience. (Like the proverbial horse to water.)

So, which is best for this half-page appeal to the people of Earth?

Hopefully, you realize which of those billions of people you’re speaking with. What is the brand-customer relationship you’re currently managing? Who is your CORE? These and other questions will be asked of you next week in Part Two. Until then, what are you going think, feel and do? Hopefully, write a more precise and meaningful strategy.