The good news is the resentment and criticism will mostly come from people who don’t count. With a few exceptions it’s not going to come from your customer or your prospects, it is going to come from your spouse, mother in law, next door neighbour, employee, competitors and your peers.
I remember hearing about a fellow in the USA who admitted to spending $70,000 on useless flyers just to appease his wife because she “hated his style of in your face emotional direct response advertising”. She at least had the chance to hand these worthless flyers to her friends and rellies. Reality is they weren’t buyers, so I suppose no harm done, and his wife was happy and I expect $70,000 was much cheaper than a divorce.
In a marketing sense, you want to upset someone by lunchtime everyday. Strangely, it’s one of the ways you tell if you are doing something right. Here is a recent example that demonstrates exactly what I’m referring to.
Today I received your orange promotional material with the car. I never felt compelled to reply to promo material before but this one “got me”. Not because of the content, which I could not read, but because it had an energy of someone playing a joke on his mail list. It is absolutely awful and I dispatched with it after flicking through the pages..
It looked like a work of a disturbed, aggressive person or an angry school teacher that had enough of marking the papers. Well, it may appeal to males but it sure does nothing for me. You could offer me the most wonderful opportunity but if it was written in such a disjointed, aggressive, messy and manic way, you’ve lost me Mal. maybe you need another style to talk to women.. keep up the good work but don’t send me anymore of this letters.”
Well at least I had an impact and it certainly was memorable and it did have a happy ending. I took the trouble of replying with a detailed explanation along the lines of firstly understanding her response but secondly pointing out that my message wasn’t right for her but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for someone else. Ultimately we parted friends and there is always the chance that we’ll do business in the future. If the marketplace raises an issue you know you are having an impact.
If a COMPETITOR complains to a regulator about you, you KNOW for sure you are affecting his business.
Last year one of my professional clients was covertly referred to but not named by their regulatory body. The complaint was to do with their style of advertising (emotional direct response relentless shameless self promotional marketing). THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT IN MY MIND that this was instigated by a complaint from a competitor.
Understandably there are risks involved in implementing this type of strategy. Most people of course would have stopped this style of advertising immediately. My attitude, that of the Rebellious Millionaire’s approach requires a contrarian response. A lot of business people and a lot of professionals are too concerned with what their competitors and even non-competitors think about them, even more so than what they customers or clients think of them. Yet peers and competitors…
a) Never put money in your pocket and
b) Have other agendas in discouraging and being critical of what you do.
I’ve always personally aspired to ZERO concern for what my peers think of me in business. However, risk is a different issue altogether. There is risk, and there is a need to manage that risk. Criticism on the other hand is a certainty and you should be immune to that.