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Why are marketing and advertising like communicating with a black dog at night?

It’s a Fundamental Rule of Marketing Communications

If you have a message to communicate, it’s important to recognize that most communication in our field is one-way communication: Your message travels outbound — with no response and no proof that it’s been absorbed by your target audience, or for that matter, even noticed.

A Failure to Communicate?

(Based on a true story.) You look out your window. It’s dark. Your dog is out there somewhere in the backyard. The dog is dark too. Jet-black, in fact. A black dog in a black night. And you want to call him in and go to bed…

Somehow you must entice your dog to come back inside. You can’t see your target, but you know he’s out there. And you won’t be able to gauge the effectiveness of your communication unless or until the dog appears at the back door. Only then will you know that the dog biscuit in your hand has communicated the desired message.

Marketers: How To Communicate With The Black Dog
Communicating with a black dog at night poses a challenge.

Results Hold the Answer

Marketing communication is like communicating with the black dog. Because communicating with an unseen audience is a one-way affair.

Newton’s Third Law: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Bidlack’s Third Law: For every marketing action there is a positive reaction, but only if the initial action was correctly aimed, properly timed, and of interest to the target audience.

Chris Bidlack

Black Dog Communication is a mindset: Understanding and accepting the fact that your audience will remain unseen and unheard in their own world, aloof and uncaring. Until and unless they choose to respond to your message, you will never know if what you had to say was seen and absorbed.

The Black Dog Mindset

Recognizing that your audience is not very interested in your message, at least initially, is an important reality that marketers must face. Only through knowing and accepting this can you develop the right approach to communication: An approach which involves relevance and makes your message truly response-worthy.