Marketing

Photos can mislead

I never cease to be amazed at the power of photography.  A powerful photo goes beyond the old cliché about a thousand words.  Images speak in a way that words simply can’t.  And when we want to add power to our messages and presentations, there are few things more powerful than a strong photo.  In fact, photos can be so emotionally powerful that they can be misleading, whether we intend them to be or not.

Knee deep in leisure

For example, take the venture capital fund that I invested in several years ago.  If you visit this investment company’s website, the first image you’ll encounter is a family of four walking into a sunset on an ocean beach.  The second is an older couple on a similar beach with waves rolling in behind them.  Then there’s another older couple with their two dogs in an idyllic autumn setting . . . and the middle-aged couple cycling through rolling hills . . . you get the picture.  They’re all knee-deep in pleasant leisure-time activities.  They don’t have a worry in the world.

That has the potential to hurt

I invested the minimum $5,000 in this company with the understanding that my investment would be locked in for eight years and, more than eight years later, I now have $1,136.  That’s a 77.28% loss from my original $5,000 investment!  Okay, so I know that investing in venture capital funds is risky.  If the investment goes up, you make money and if it goes down, you lose.  I’m a big boy and I can handle that.  What bothers me is that this website’s images say the exact opposite.  They imply that if you invest enough now, someday you’ll be on easy street.  And that has the potential to hurt innocent people who think their investment will inevitably have a happy ending.

There’s something sinister here

You know, there’s something sinister about the way pictures can mislead without making promises.  They can create illusions without having to actually deliver in a way that words never could.  Mutual fund companies – and all advertisers – capitalize on that.

Images can fool

I believe in telling the truth, with both words and images.  But obviously, not everyone is so scrupulous.  I can understand the temptation.  After all, the right images are so powerful that they can fool people into thinking they can live the high life on losses of 77.28%.

Am I whining?

Am I whining because I lost money? Am I being too hard on the venture capital investment companies?  You tell me.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

Segmenting a market

Segmenting a market used to sound very complex to me.  And at its most sophisticated levels, it is.  But for most small and medium businesses, segmenting a market is the simple process of figuring out who your customers are and how to reach them.

Movies appeal to the market sector

Movie production companies are very good at segmenting markets.  That’s why they run movie trailers that are designed to appeal to the market sector that’s in the theatre to see the current blockbuster.  This really came home to me recently when my son invited me to join him for an action flick.  They’re not really my speed, but I went along anyway.  I was prepared for two hours of thundering sound, crashing buildings and carnage, but nothing prepared me for the trailers for upcoming films.

I wasn’t the target

I found them tasteless, over-dramatic, loud and generally unbelievable at any level.  I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to see what they were showing us.  But of course, that’s because the production company knew how to target an audience.  And I definitely wasn’t the target.  Interestingly, when I went to a romantic comedy with my wife the next week, at least a couple of the trailers intrigued me and I made a mental note to see them, either at the theatre or on DVD. Obviously, the film promoters know how to segment a market.

Know your audience

The object lesson here is simple: know your audience.  Know what they like, what turns them on and gets them excited enough to buy your ideas or products.  Focus your message exclusively to that targeted group and forget everybody else.  They don’t matter because they don’t want what you’re selling.

Pick one promo

One final thought: avoid messages that promote this, this, this, this and that other thing you do.  Pick one product or service to be promoted and stick with it – preferably the one that’s currently most popular with your clients and most profitable for you.  You’re always better to aim than to try to promote everything to everyone.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.