Greed and fear: should they be used in your marketing message?

I have been struck by news of the growing, so-called,  ‘compensation culture’ in Britain. The debate centres on the current system that allows insurance companies to  benefit from passing on details of customers involved in accidents to solicitors specialising in compensation claims.

Having recently been contacted by such a firm of solicitors I have first hand experience of their marketing tactics. I have swayed between wonder, at the power and subtlety of their marketing message, and discomfort, that I could actually fall for it.

In trying to persuade me to make a claim they are preying on my fear of the unknown, of what unseen damage could have been caused that may have long-term effects. I like to think of myself as a pretty rational person but, such was the power of the language used, I came away questioning my own convictions.

Fear is known to be effective as a marketing message and if used carefully, appropriately and morally, it can be valid –  for public health messages for example. It also has the potential to offend, upset and destroy customer goodwill if used in the wrong context.

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