To my trusty reader,
Something really funny happened to me the other day.
And at the same time I appreciated that I know marketing and copywriting. So without further ado, it’s time for…
“Story Time with David”
(crowd goes wild!)
So the other day I went to one of the national parks in the area. It has these really nice trails that go along the Chattahoochee River here in Georgia.
Beforehand I got a really nice lunch, some decaf (I quit drinking regular coffee due to having way too much of it – that stuff’s addicting), and then I headed off to the park.
But when I got there… I TOTALLY forgot that there’s a $3.00 parking fee.
They make you put $3.00 in an envelope, and then tear this thing off the envelope and hang it on your rear view mirror. Then, periodically, an officer wil come by and check the number on the envelope with the number on the thingy on your mirror.
And if you don’t pay you get like a $50 ticket.
So here’s the deal…
There was no way I was driving back home. I’d already made it to the park, so in my mind, I was staying at the park.
So I thought to myself… “How can I feel safe about parking here, so I can enjoy my hike at the river without thinking every second that a $50 ticket is wating for me back at my car?”
And then I spotted a piece of paper.
And the copywriter in my went wild.
I thought, “I know! I’ll write a letter, put that inside the envelop instead of $3.00, and woo the police officer who comes by to check and see if people paid with my copywriting skills.”
And then things got even better…
As I frantically looked around my car for a pen – guess what I found –
A baby blue marker.
I wrote that letter in the most girly handwriting I could. Top that off with the baby-blue marker (don’t ask me why that was in my car, I really don’t know) and that letter looked like a genuine 16-year old girl wrote it.
Here’s what the letter said:
I’m sorry, but I don’t have any cash on me today.
If you need to give me a ticket, I completely understand.
And guess what?
I still got a ticket…
LOL no just kidding – I DIDN’T get a ticket!
Whoo go me! I had a great, two-hour hike at the river, came back to my car, and saw absolutely no pink slip of doom telling me I owed $50 for not paying $3.00.
So what can we learn from this? (Besides to always have some cash on hand…)
Lesson #1: Always match your message to your audience.
See, most park rangers are men. And most male cops give women a break (I don’t mean any of this in a sexist way – it’s just how things usually happen). Even more male cops will give a teenage girl a break.
By making myself appear to be a teenage girl… Wait that doesn’t sound right… I mean, by making my handwriting look like a teenage girl’s – I provided my target audience [the park ranger] with a voice that he would sympathize with [helpless teenage girl who forgot her money].
Lesson #2: “Everyone craves a feeling of importance” –Dale Carnegie
This is a powerful truth of human psychology. See, in most cases, people try to argue with a cop. They try to talk their way out of a ticket. People get angry at cops a lot of times, too.
So for the officer to feel important, he has to give a ticket. If he gives in to the argument, or succumbs to the rage of the person he pulled over, then he gives away his power, and he feels unimportant.
In my letter, I gladly welcomed the ticket: “If you need to give me a ticket, I completely understand.”
By doing this, I put the officer in a position where he gains his feeling of importance by not giving me a ticket.
Notice the word “need” there, too.
Sub-consciously he’s going to think: “Do I need to give a ticket? Well, no, I guess I really don’t.”
Or at least that’s what I was counting on. And the fact that I didn’t get a ticket means it must have worked.
…But then again Lou (my wonderful life partner) thinks that just no ranger came by that day.
So she pretty much burst my bubble lol
And, sadly, she might be right. But I really don’t think she is! Wait, hear me out:
It was on a Sunday – one of the busiest park days. Officers always check on the parks on the weekends.
But anyways, I guess we’ll never find out
Either way, we can walk away with some good lessons (I know I did).
Talk to you soon,
p.s. Leave me your comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts
p.p.s. Also, I swear I don’t make a habit of impersonating teenage girls lol