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Weighing Risk and Reward in Self-Storage Marketing Messages

Derek Naylor Comments

There seems to be a constant battle between sales and production. Salespeople promise faster delivery than production can meet. They promise better products and cheaper prices. Production staff realize they need sales to have a job, but wish the sales team would accurately represent the product and be realistic about schedules.

There’s a similar battle going on between marketing and legal departments. In my world, we kindly refer to attorneys as “sales killers” or “response busters.” (Here I apologize to any self-storage attorneys who may be reading this. I know you're just doing your job. And I’m sure attorneys I’ve worked with have great names for me too.)

From a marketing perspective, we need to address consumer hot buttons and differentiate ourselves from the competition. To do that, we need clear and powerful content. Words like "safe," "secure," "guaranteed," "free" and "best"—all words with which the legal department takes major issue. An attorney’s job is to protect you from future lawsuits and legal hassles. Telling a prospect that your self-storage facility is “safe and secure” opens the doors to potential trouble. After all, there’s no way to ensure that your customers and their belongings will always be safe and secure.

But safety and security is a major consumer hot button. Tto effectively market your facility, you must address the issue. Sure, you can say things such as “security cameras” and “gated access” that imply a degree of security, but such language is watered down. Which of the following statements addresses the emotional hot button and concern more clearly?

  • “We have gated access, security cameras and a fully fenced property.”
  • “At XYZ Storage, you’ll feel safe and your belongings will be secure while stored on our property. Digital cameras record activity 24/7, and our gated property is one of the safest facilities in town. You have nothing to worry about.”

Certainly the second one better addresses the concerns of the average consumer , and you’ll receive more response from an ad containing this language. However, I doubt you’ll find an attorney willing to sign off on it. If something were to happen to someone while at your facility or if a unit was broken into, you might have a lawsuit on your hands.

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