Too Much Helpful Marketing?


A life lesson I’ve learned that is quite profound and one I have tried to share, especially with my kids, is that “asking for help” is a very human and important behavior.  I’m not talking about the “could you pick up my dry cleaning?” help, I’m talking about real help. More of the desperation variety; the kind where you must let your guard down and share fallibility. A student about to fail. A mortgage in need of payment. An anxiety in need of treatment.

When a person asks another for real help most people will give it. It’s who we are having crawled out of the primordial soup. The Inuit people have 8 or 20 words for snow, we only have one for help. Sadly, the word has become watered down.

In marketing and brand positioning, the better practitioners are “you” focused not “me” focused; consumer focused rather than product focused. And that’s good. But bazillions of dollars are spent trying to convince consumers our products can “help” them. You’ve heard of a pity-fest? Well, much advertising today is a help-fest. I love the Brits for their advertising. It’s often a bit out there, but tends to work better than ours in the U.S. Why? Because they aren’t always trying to help. They share value. Imply value. Identify with people in their quest for better life experiences. But they don’t go all mother-in-law on you with help.

If you have a product that really helps, with a capital H, then sell as such. Little “h” help, however, is not really, well, helping. Peace.