How to Advertise More Effectively

Author: Tom Goyne, Au.D.

Stop for a moment and think about some of the product or service advertising that you’ve seen recently. Chances are there were a smattering of advertisements regarding cars, beer, home improvement, and jewelry.

Now stop and think about the style and content of those commercials. The car commercials likely used images of open roads with breathtaking landscapes in the background and probably closed with an enticing financing offer. The beer commercials likely showed frolicking twenty-somethings at a pool party or beach party, the jewelry commercials probably referred to a special occasion such as a wedding or anniversary, and the home improvement advertisement displayed images of a bright new kitchen or bright sun shining through new curtains.

Notice, the car ads didn’t reference the intricacies of the transmission and the beer commercials didn’t discuss the specific combination of malt and hops. The jewelry ads didn’t mention how much that those carats are going to set you back and the home improvement ads didn’t get into the technical matters of how to hang kitchen cabinets.

The advertisements that came to mind are clearly effective. If they weren’t, the tracking data of the businesses that ran the ads would indicate this and they would move on to a different style of advertisement. Further proof is that, despite all of the advertising you are bombarded with on a daily basis, those ads are the ones that came to mind for you.

The reason that these ads were effective is that they evoked a positive feeling or emotion in the viewer. Mountains of research indicate that the clear majority of purchases made are done so on the basis of an emotional reaction rather than a Spock-like logical thought process. Logic or objective thought may lead a person to choose a certain model or feature, but the decision to purchase in the first place is almost always based on feeling and emotion.

So why do so many of us in the hearing health industry insist on utilizing advertising that displays a small piece of plastic and vaguely lists multiple microphones and multi-channel processing as if the general public understands what those features are, or what their benefits might be?

The most effective advertising in the hearing health industry avoids complicated features that evoke emotions such as fear of technology or images that remind people of their advancing age. Rather, the most effective ads in our industry call to mind happy times such as holidays, summer vacations or memorable restaurant dinners with friends. It is a similar approach to a properly performed hearing aid consultation. Just as those discussions should imply the possibility of making social occasions enjoyable again, so should an advertisement that you are hoping to make the office telephone ring.

Needing a hearing aid and wanting a hearing aid are two entirely different concepts. Seth Godin, an author, entrepreneur and marketer has said “People rarely buy what they need. They buy what they want.” People don’t want to wear hearing aids. But people do want to enjoy going to the movies, talking to their grandchildren (and so on). If you want the ROI of your advertising to improve, the focus of your ads should be to make good on the promise of what better hearing will provide.    
Tom Goyne, Au.D. is a practice owner, adjunct professor at Salus University and a practice consultant with Oracle Hearing Group.