Room for Negative Messages in Digital Marketing – There is an ongoing debate in digital marketing circles regarding negative marketing messages. Should they be avoided at all costs? The debate actually isn’t limited to the digital environment. Marketers of all stripes have been trying to answer this question for decades.
Given the highly sensitive nature of the current culture – some would argue it is too sensitive – content creators sometimes feel like they can never write a single negative word. In some cases, the need for positive messaging is so pervasive that content creators are even afraid to use the negative forms of common verbs.
Content marketing is one of the hottest things in digital marketing right now. According to Salt Lake City’s Webtek Digital Marketing, experts on SEO services the current emphasis on content is a direct result of Google focusing more on quality than they ever have in the past.
The thing with Google is that its algorithms do not care whether content offers a positive or negative point of view. As long as it doesn’t cross certain boundaries, negative content is as valuable to quality search engine results as positive content. So then why do so many digital marketers insist on avoiding negativity at all costs?
One of the main arguments against negative messages is that people are already subject to too many of them. We are bombarded with negativity every single day. As the thinking goes, brands don’t do themselves any favors by adding to it with negativity.
You could argue that too much positivity is equally bad. We are all familiar with the idea of having too much of a good thing, right? Ice cream is good, yet you can eat too much of it. Water is good and necessary. Too much can drown you. Why is positive messaging any different?
People aren’t dumb. They know that life isn’t all sunshine and roses. They also know that when brands go out of their way to paint an overly positive picture of their products and services, they aren’t portraying reality. That does not sit well with consumers.
The other big concern with the negative messaging debate is that consumer opinions differ. In doing research for this post, I looked at multiple posts from other digital marketers who advised to stay away from negativity at all costs. One of the examples I ran across went something like this: “Do you have leaky faucets? Try our product to fix them.”
This was cited as negative messaging. Digital marketing and content creation aside, I am also a consumer. I do not perceive that message to be negative at all. It’s reality. Sometimes faucets leak. The company in question is offering a solution to my leaky faucets which, in my opinion, is a positive thing.
It is understood that too much negative messaging is a bad thing. You don’t want people associating your brand with negativity. Still though, negative messaging sometimes resonates with people. It gets them to think about things. It gets them to consider a brand’s value proposition.
Of course, there are limits to negative messaging. It should never constitute false advertising. It doesn’t need to lash out at the competition, cross the lines of good taste, etc. But not all negative messaging should be off-limits.
Any accomplished content creator can tell you that there are occasions when they run out of positive things to say about a brand. If they are not allowed to mention something as basic as a leaky faucet, they runs the risk of being guilty of the opposite problem: too many positive messages.