Marketing 101: Desperate is Not Desirable

Wendy Muse with Tarragon Residential sent me a photo of a hilarious banner which reads “As Long As You are Breathing, We Will Rent You An Apartment.” Can you believe it? Whenever I show this banner in my seminars and keynote speeches, the crowd roars with laughter. Many simply think it is funny and some recognize the desperation in this marketing attempt and are laughing because they know it just won’t work.

Desperate is not sexy. Desperate is not professional. Desperate is a last ditched effort to effect change. I have made a hobby out of observing human behavior. Recently I was on vacation in Hawaii where my dear friend Janet married her middle school sweetheart. There was a group of single women vacationing together and they all seemed to be looking for a vacationship. One by one, each of the women met someone to flirt with and pulled away from the group. The women who was left was wearing the most provocative outfit that left little to the imagination. She just had the look of desperation. She may have been the coolest chick in the group but she looked like she would settle for anything. Not sexy if you get the picture. The first gal to meet someone was elegant and carried herself with amazing poise and confidence. Men found her irresistible. People are attracted to confidence, not desperation. This is true with people and product marketing.

While I support honest marketing, desperation will never work. Another banner in Dallas, TX reads “Save Kathy’s Job, Lease at Gentry’s Walk.” Kathy seems to be standing on the corner begging and it seems she would accept any applicant. Don’t lower marketing message to say our flood gates are open and it is a leasing free for all! The type of resident you really want will never fall for it. Instead you will get people who are possibly not qualified to live there because of a poor credit record. However, that risky resident knows you need them and they will take a shot thinking you will over look their past eviction because you want to increase occupancy.

I know it is tough out there. I am not just a professional speaker, I also have a healthy consulting practice that puts me in the seat of the leasing and marketing role every day. I know we are no longer order takers and advertisers. Today we have to be seasoned sales pros and marketing strategists. Desperate marketing seems to be popping up all over but it is more than likely an attempt by someone who has run out of ideas.

I’m interested to hear about the desperate marketing in your town. Even better, I love to see examples of this marketing. We have a lot of fun showing these photos in my programs but it also serves as a good example of what not to do. So, send me pictures of desperate marketing in your town. My email address is . The best photos will be rewarded with a special gift from me!