AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerIs Fear a Good Marketer?

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Is Fear a Good Marketer?

“Fear-based messages spread faster than any other type,” said Martin Lindstrom, a consumer behavior expert quoted in Adweek magazine.ZIKA virus headlines

Sales of hand sanitizer spiked with the Ebola scare, Cipro use spiked after the anthrax scare, and when Zika hit the news cycle, sales of insect repellent skyrocketed by more than 50%. In marketing, we’ve all been told to find a problem and solve it for consumers–from bad breath to H1N1. When the issues are extremely serious, it’s not easy to be helpful and not appear to be overtly capitalizing on an negative issue at the same time.

In healthcare advertising, it is difficult to walk this fine line. The best way  is to not fan the flames of fear. Direct, non-hyped information is better received. Educational advertising is best when mixed with true stories and real-patient testimonials. You may not be the next social media hit, but you will better serve your potential patients and your brand long-term. Hyperbole, exposed for what it is on the internet, needs to be avoided at all costs.

Fear mongering does sell. But it also erodes credibility and destroys trust. Fear travels fast, but trust wins the race.



Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.