The Art of Negative Marketing

I’ve encountered a lot of different type of people in life. From punk rock shows to church ministry, to corporate boardrooms- Life is full of characters. But no character is more interesting to watch than the villain.

I’ve met a lot of villains. And what most people don’t get- People love a good villain. In Marketing the concept is called: Negative Marketing. And contrary to popular belief by many “Book Marketing Experts” who say – Never be negative. This strategy works.

One way I’ve seen Negative Marketing also tapped as is “Emotional Marketing.”

Graeme Newell introduces us to the concept:
They are the people we love to hate – the daily villains who irritate, nag and bother us. Smart marketers have learned that nothing makes consumers feel better than to ridicule these annoying tormenters who make life hard. This variety of “negative marketing” or “negative branding” is one of the most effective ways to show your customers that you get them, and feel the same things that they do.

There are a lot of people who embrace this role- (Donald Trump anyone…?) Seriously anytime someone freaks out over Trump’s tweets I sit back and smile- Not because I like what he says- But because it’s marketing folks and it’s useful. How do you think he got rural voters to come out in droves in many states? He tapped into their anger.

I know a few authors who embrace this nemesis role in the same way. They love it. They are the Darth Vader to some standing at the end of a dark hallway slowly breathing. They want people to be enraged and flipping out. They want people to grab their hair and rip it from the roots. They love the chaos it creates.

Not because they are naturally a jerk. Most aren’t. But they’re smart- These authors understand that their target audience: Loves it.

You see- Negative marketing looks deep into the darkest emotions that humans have. Rage, jealousy, and disdain. The format is straightforward. Find something that customer’s hate, ridicule the heck out of it, and show your target audience that you get them; that you understand and have the same loathing for the things they hate.

So the next time you get “enraged” by someone on Twitter: Make sure they aren’t using you for their marketing purposes. And if you do take the bait- Well maybe they’re just smart enough to score a few bucks off of you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply