2 years ago
I found myself watching a programme called Embarrassing Bodies on Channel Four the other evening. And very odd it was too.
If you didn’t see it, (and why the hell would you if you’ve got anything approaching a half decent life?) the idea is that a team of three doctors set up a surgery in the middle of a busy city centre. They then invite the public to go in and discuss any embarrassing medical problems they might have – the sort of thing they haven’t been able to pluck up the courage to go to their GP with.
What followed was an hour long display of various malady-ridden genitalia, breasts and other bodily areas best kept under wraps… all in full glare of TV cameras and lights. And it appears it is all for the entertainment and education of the viewing public.
Now call me old fashioned if you like, but if I was the possessor of the sort of troublesome todger or sorrowful scrotum that dissuaded me from visiting my GP, I doubt that the opportunity to whip it out for the masses on National TV, would be one that I’d jump at readily. And yet there were plenty of people doing just that, happily getting them out for the lads and lasses.
I can think of two possible reasons, and each gives us a clue to what makes people tick.
The first possibility is that it’s the lure of fame that influences people to do this. Is it really possible that people will set aside considerable embarrassment of this nature, just to get their face (and other bits) on TV? And if it is, how easy would it be to get them to do something far less daunting for you, if there was some promise of fame, notoriety or recognition at the end of it?
You might not be able to get your followers on TV, but you may well be able to get their photograph in a newspaper, a newsletter, a magazine, a blog or other publication. You may be able to get their story featured somewhere. You might even be able to publish something yourself with the sole purpose of featuring their work, stories, achievements, photographs… whatever. The key is that as a reward for doing something that you want (buying your product, becoming a client, recommending your services, or in my case subscribing to my blog (this one) etc) they get to experience some degree of fame or recognition… while keeping their underwear firmly in place.
The second possibility is that people are so inertia-bound, that something necessary, but unpleasant, (like visiting a GP with an embarrassing problem) simply doesn’t get done. When they are presented with an effort-free way to get the problem looked at there and then, the inertia is overcome, and they take it.
In marketing anything (again, my blog) - particularly direct marketing - inertia is a big problem. Whilst buying a product wouldn’t be classed as an unpleasant task, the ordering process may well be. Have you ever wanted to order something, but couldn’t be bothered to fill in what looked like a complicated application form? I know that I have. Or perhaps you wanted to order, but couldn’t bear the thought of enduring an encounter with a phone system that makes you go through several menus before getting to someone who will take your money. That’s happened to me too.
The key to overcoming inertia therefore is to make what you want done, as close to inertia as possible. In other words, make it as easy as possible. Do as much of the work as you can. The less a customer has to do, to do business with you, the more likely that they’ll take the desired action. The easier it is, the more you’ll sell.
So for this purpose alone, I am now willing to come round to yours, and read my blog, subscribe to it and comment on it for you. All you need do is open the door.
Embarrassing Bodies still has another couple of nights to run. Apparently, tonight is a vagina and anus special. I’m tempted to tell you that I’ll be watching a documentary about Nick Clegg and David Cameron instead, but that would be just rude.
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