Scream it or say it? Getting your message communicated and understood.


As my first “real” blog entry, I wanted to share a true story that could also be applied to your marketing message. How do you get somebody’s attention? How do you quickly communicate to them how you can help? Or in this case, that you need help?

This past Christmas Eve around noon, I was heading into my local post office in my neighborhood of Somerville, Union Square.  I went to the building’s entrance, and saw an elderly Hispanic woman in a panicked state. She was screaming, crying, pounding the glass, and kept trying the locked doorhandle.

Beside her was another middle aged gentleman who was trying to calm her down. I asked them what was wrong, and she explained that she had a paycheck that she needed to deposit. However, it seemed to have fallen out of her purse, and she believed it was somewhere in the post office…which was now closed since it was a few minutes past the noon holiday closing time.

I figured this close to closing that somebody inside the post office was probably still there and closing shop. I pounded on the glass door with a few aggressive open palm strikes, and she joined in as well. It seemed to work, as an employee came to the door shortly. She did not seem to be in a good mood to see us.

I stopped knocking and let the woman try to explain to the visibly annoyed employee what the problem was. Unfortunately, she figured he best approach was to continue the aggressive nature and tried the “Screaming frantically to communicate the reason why you do what I say” route. Needless to say, it failed, as the employee did not budge and continued to tell us that the post office was now closed. She thought we were just angry customers trying to mail packages, but didn’t grasp the fact that we just needed her help so we can get the woman her paycheck back.

Luckily, the gentleman and I calmly and politely explained to the employee about the upset woman’s situation, and she eventually was let inside to (hopefully) find her lost check.

As a marketing professional, we sometimes need to knock harder and louder in order to get our intended audience’s attention (even if that attention is based on annoyance).

However, once we have that attention, we no longer need to keep up that frenetic tone because then we just scare them off. Instead, short, insightful, and quick-hitting messages should provide enough info to “open the door”.

James K. Kim About James K. Kim
James K. Kim (Jim) is a commercial real estate advisor with Pyramid Brokerage Company of Albany, Inc. in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in helping business owners expand into new locations or sell/lease a commercial retail, office, industrial, or investment property.

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