The Hero’s Journey and Hearing Aid Marketing
The hero’s journey is a template for the great stories of the ages. The Odyssey, Beowulf, Star Wars, The Matrix…pretty much every story that follows a traditional progression of an average guy becoming a savior.
This is the same formula that can be followed for telling any story, including stories in sales
letters, newsletters, even a postcard. It takes a little creativity and a lot of thinking but it can be done.
Joseph Campbell noticed that the pattern that came to be known as the hero’s journey appears over and over again in myths. He and many other famous writers unknowingly wrote using this same pattern. It is somehow ingrained in all of us. Like branded cattle we are marked with the hero’s journey in our psyche and on our soul.
The 8 Steps
1. The hero starts as “stuck” and unconscious.
Think Luke Skywalker or Neo from The Matrix. George Lucas’s Star Wars sticks very closely to the hero’s journey. The Matrix is a more modern, adapted version of the hero’s journey that includes our newfound need for immediate gratification.
One of the reasons this story progression and especially this first step is so appealing to us in 2012 is that many modern jobs have us feeling stuck and unconscious. It becomes a grind and daydreams of striking it rich or having magical powers are our escape.
With all of the technological advancements we’ve seen in the last 20 years, it seems strange that physical pieces of paper would still have any affect on sales. The truth is, receiving a message through the mail that is personalized still makes people feel special (if it’s a well-done piece of direct mail).
It’s much easier to get lost in someone’s inbox when you’re mixed in with hundreds of unopened spam messages than with ten or fifteen different looking pieces of mail that they’re touching with their hands and sorting through scanning with their eyes.
2. The hero receives “the call”—which he often resists.
Luke Skywalker has Obi Wan Kenobi, and Neo has Trinity (and Morpheus). You have Hearing Aid Marketing, and your customers and prospects have mail, email, blogs, websites, and landing pages you’re directing them to.
The sales process can take months. People don’t want to admit they have a hearing loss. This is why your hearing aid marketing, and especially your hearing aid direct mail needs to inform prospects that they have a problem you can help them fix.
The majority are going to resist you at first. It can take multiple emails to get prospects to become customers. But a high enough percentage can be convinced early enough in the process to make it worth your while.
3. The hero wanders far from home—often for a long, long time.
Prospects may not respond for weeks or months. That’s part of the game. They would rather keep doing what they’re doing, be it not hearing their spouse clearly, not participating in activities with friends like they used to, than submit to age. Inform them of the benefits and they will come.
4. The hero endures trials.
You have to test pieces and not everything will work the first time. Trial and error is an important early part of most processes. Nurturing a lead from the initial stages to becoming a loyal customer and maybe even referring others to your business will contain many trials.
5. The hero experiences wonders and encounters outlandish characters.
I would say using a lightsaber and the force are wonders Luke Skywalker experienced in his journey. Encountering outlandish characters would be meeting Yoda, Chewbacca, C3PO, R2D2, and some of the other non-human species in Star Wars. Oh, and Han Solo is definitely an outlandish character.
Neo learns kung-fu, dodges bullets, and fights a program called Agent Smith. I’d say those qualify.
Hearing aid direct mail is full of wonders. When you have a quality list, a good piece of direct mail, and the right minds behind the process, sales should begin to multiply. The world of advertising is full of outlandish personalities. The hearing aid industry is no different.
6. The hero receives aid from unexpected sources—often divine or semi-divine.
If the prospect is the hero then whoever sells them a hearing aid must be the unexpected divinity. Sometimes you have to make people aware of your presence. After a while, they will find you, but you have to lay the groundwork first.
7. The hero at last returns home—but in a form unrecognizable to those he left behind, as those left behind appear (at first) unknowable to him.
Wearing hearing aids for the first time can be a magical experience. The world is enhanced and new in so many ways. The dynamic between the customer and their loved ones will change for the better thanks to your services.
8. The hero brings a gift for the people.
Hearing aids are a gift. Their sole purpose is to improve an individual’s ability to hear and communicate. This human attribute is so important that to take it away completely nullifies many people. If helping inform and market hearing aids to individuals helps sell more to those in need, then in some small way it is a very positive act.
The Hero’s Journey Simplified
The following is a little fill-in-the-blank exercise for the hero’s journey:
We will be stuck and frustrated on Planet ___________.
Our call will come in the form of _______________.
On our journey we will endure _______________, confront _____________, have sex with ___________ and _____________.
All the way through to the end.
Filled out it can look like:
We will be stuck and frustrated on Planet Hearing Loss.
Our call will come in the form of Hearing Aid Direct Mail.
On our journey we will endure stunted communication, confront our fears, and buy hearing aids to better communicate with friends and family.
All the way through to the end.
Image credit: J Aaron Farr
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