Today’s customer is much different than the typical customer 10 years ago. One wrong move and your brand can be cancelled. One way to stand out, while being cautious is by implementing soft-sell marketing techniques. Adopting a fresh approach that engages with audiences without directly selling a product can help capture the audience's attention effectively.
Soft-Sell vs. Hard-Sell Marketing
Hard-sell marketing takes a direct approach. According to the Corporate Finance Institute, hard-sell advertising pointedly targets the potential customer, calling on them to take immediate action. Meanwhile, soft-selling marketing takes a less aggressive technique. Instead of in your face methods, the product is often featured in the background, while the ad emphasizes a mood, lifestyle or a feeling. The audience is captured by a story or atmosphere and is left to draw their own conclusions about the product. While there isn't a definitive call to action, soft-selling techniques can be just as powerful as hard-sell techniques, if not more so. This is because the audience chooses to interact with the ad.
How to use the Soft-Sell Approach
Research is a critical step in the soft-sell approach. According to the writers at GMass, understanding the audience's goals and challenges is key to convincing them the product can help them achieve and overcome. Through research, you can identify the audience's interests and media consumption to pinpoint the best method of reaching them. Many advertisers use storytelling in their soft-sell approach. This gives marketers the ability to connect with the audience's emotions. When using a story to sell a product, the ad will need characters to use the product and a problem the product can solve.
Soft-Sell Advertising in Real Life
Perfume ads have employed soft-selling techniques for years. Instead of describing the fragrance, the quality of the perfume or why someone should purchase it, their commercials are typically abstract or poetic shorts meant to invoke a desirable feeling.
Coca-Cola also uses this technique often. Depicting people sharing Coke products without mentioning the product itself. Instead, Coke invokes the friendly and uplifting atmosphere they want the audience to associate with their product.
Carolina Macedo, the author, is Project Coordinator of Marketing Keys.