Selling The Pain!


When you want to get your message in front of a target audience, you’ve got to be creative in your approach. During the last week, I was planning on attending an industry organization’s annual general meeting with my wife, Rose – who works in this industry. It was her first time taking part in such an event and she wanted me to accompany her. I pondered as to how I might leverage some business leads while attending and what immediately intrigued me was that during the day’s events was a two-hour window where companies could display their services to attendees taking a break and having a “beverage” while networking. So, naturally I inquired as to the availability of the display space. To my dissatisfaction, it was only open members or suppliers to their immediate industry.


Not one to ignore an opportunity to spread my message somehow, I developed an idea I think you’ll find amusing. I decided to develop “pain point postcards”. Before I elaborate on exactly what these are, let me define “pain points” first. As in any business, there are issues that keep you awake at night. These issues are the things that cause you psychological pain. These are the challenges in business that throw up barriers and irritants, holding you back from your goals, resulting in lost income potential.

Ed Roach

To take advantage of pain points as a strategy targeting my audience’s attention, I engaged in a little guerilla marketing. I am producing a series of 5 postcards roughly 6″ X 4″ in size. On the front side, the entire surface is black and the text is in white. This is where I boldly spell out the pain point. For instance: “Are you finding that there is nothing that differentiates you from your competition?”

On the back is the brand logo for “The Branding Experts” and contact info ONLY. No answer to the pain point question. My goal is to drive them to a special web-page dedicated to this effort. You cannot get to this page without having seen and picked up the postcard AND acted on it. A great way to track the effort. I will place these cards all over the event and hotel where many of the attendees are staying. The web page will provide solutions to the questions. Distributing these Pain Point Postcards is where you must also be bold. You are no doubt staying at the same hotel as your target audience. Leave them message side up on the reception coffee table. The counter in the john. The counter at reception. Anywhere that they might catch the eye. Ideally place all 5 messages in close proximity, as this is a bigger effect.

If you are even willing to invest more funds to the effort, you could see if a billboard close to the entrance to the exhibit hall or hotel is available on a 3 or 4 day basis. Here you would exhibit your most compelling statement. That and your weblink is the ONLY message here.

Prior to the show, try and get emails of the attendees and do html email blasts with the black and white messages. Expose them to the pain points in as many locations as possible within a tight period of time. I would even go so far as putting magnetic cards on the interiors of the elevators. Pain Point promotions can be invigorating as you become somewhat of a guerilla in your technique. Outside of the billboard, the expense is minimal, it is merely your effort that should be inspired. Try it yourself soon and come back and let us know how the experience benefited you. We can compare notes.


  1. Ed I think this is a great idea! In my community we have ‘filler’ exchanges where we trade promotional materials to be included in our mailings and product packages. Something like that would be terrific. Very provoking 🙂

  2. cougarmark says

    Wow – great post….just hope you don’t get arrested or more likely thrown out of the hotel.

    If you went to CJ university a few years ago you may have seen the offline viral campaign involving thousands of oranges left all over a city with a little message on them I believe directing them to a website.

    Best of luck we’ll look forward to hearing how this does for you.


  3. Like the thinking behind it Ed, I’m looking forward to seeing your findings. Shame you couldn’t utilise the break in the conference but I’m sure you’ll get a good response anyway.

  4. Thanks for the comments everyone. I will keep you abreast of my reaction to this effort.