Immigration: Put a Direct Marketing Writer in Charge
Can you imagine being asked to make a major business decision—one involving billions of dollars and millions of lives—based entirely on rumor, innuendo and emotion?
Such is the case with immigration.
The Senate, the House of Representatives, the President of the United States, the Border Patrol and the “Minutemen”—all have different agendas.
And nobody seems to have the facts.
One way to sort the situation out would be to hire as a consultant a seasoned direct marketing writer.
Fear, greed, guilt and anger
These are the top four copy drivers that direct marketing writers use to change behavior—the emotional hot buttons that make people act.
These emotional hot buttons are driving the immigration debate.
Agri-business needs low-paid workers (Greed) so it can continue making profits (Greed); and instill in the American consumer Fear of higher food prices.
Ranchers on the border are dealing with theft and property invasion (Fear; Anger).
The Mexican government published a 31-page booklet, “A Guide for the Mexican Migrant.” Why? Mexico loves the cash—the reported $12.4 billion being sent home by Mexican workers in the United States from January to September 2004 that was responsible for 2.6 percent of the Mexican economy (Greed).
The Catholic Church, appalled at the mistreatment of its faithful (Guilt), announced its refusal to turn in illegals (Anger) and wants its pews filled with dues-paying faithful (Greed).
Most confused of all are the politicians.
Do they appeal to the conservative element that wants to build a wall and protect the borders (Fear; Anger)?
Or do they want amnesty, guest worker status and citizenship so that:
—these new Americans can supply cheap tomatoes (Fear of inflation);
—they not alienate the Hispanic voting bloc by sending the immigrants packing (Fear of losing their jobs in the next election)?
—these illegal aliens can become citizens and show their gratitude by voting for these politicians who made the whole thing possible (Greed)?
Separating Facts from Emotion Is Akin to Turning Features into Benefits
Fledgling direct marketing writers do not understand the difference between features and benefits.
A feature is a fact about the product or service being sold.
A benefit is what a writer creates to connect the fact to the emotional needs or wants of the prospect.
An example is life insurance. The feature is $1 million if you die. The benefit is you can sleep soundly knowing that if the unthinkable happens, your loved ones are protected.
Supposed Facts (or Features) of Immigration
* 11 million immigrants are already here. (Is it 11 million? Does anybody know the real number or where they may be?)
* These immigrants work for beggars’ wages so that agri-business, its stockholders and consumers can benefit. (How much are they paid, really? In terms of Mexico, are not these great jobs?)
* The cost of food is kept down. (How much more would food cost if American citizens harvested the fields and washed the dishes in restaurants?)
* Thousands of illegal aliens are invading the country. (If they are sneaking in undetected, how do we know how many?)
*Illegal aliens pay taxes. (Do they? How many of them are paid in cash and thus pay no taxes?)
* Are terrorists, criminals and illegal drugs being smuggled across the borders?
If these questions could be answered with hard numbers, would the government have a better grasp of the issue and pass relevant laws that served the interests of the country rather than themselves?
It would be a start.
But the problem has other dimensions.
Given the water crisis in the West and Southwest, should these areas be used for irrigation farming at all—let alone harvested by illegal aliens? What is the long-term effect on the land and the economy of cities, such as Los Angeles, that face severe water problems? Water rights are being bartered and sold as lakes dry up and salmon runs are decimated.
The Anasazi ruins in the Mesa Verde at the juncture of four Western states—or those of the Nabbateans in Petra, Jordan—are sobering sights. Here are the magnificent detritus of highly sophisticated civilizations that mysteriously disappeared off the face of the earth. Was the problem water?
Has anyone run the numbers on the effects of water being plundered in the West in terms of our grandchildren and theirs?
Would Congress and the president dare to raise the issue?
An old friend and reader who lives in the Southwest forwarded me an e-mail about the added problems illegal immigrants may be causing for already overwhelmed teachers, administrators and students in Title 1 school systems.
When I first read the piece, titled “Consider Cheap Tomatoes,” I was horrified. Then I Googled it and discovered it to be all over the Internet as bloggers spread the word.
Is this piece for real?
Or is it a diatribe written by a skilled propagandist in the employ of an organization with a special-interest agenda?
Whatever the case, it is yet another facet to factor into the equation before any laws are passed regarding building a wall, granting amnesty, allowing guest workers, ordering out the National Guard or initiating deportation proceedings.
Getting the facts—all the facts—is far more important to America than knee-jerk laws designed by legislators desperate to get reelected.
You can find the “Consider Cheap Tomatoes” e-mail at http://tinyurl.com/ocrek/.
“Just the facts, Ma’am,” as said Jack Webb on “Dragnet”
The key to solving the immigration conundrum, or any other business problem--is to turn all of the emotional hot buttons into numbers, numbers of dollars, numbers of bodies and numbers of widgets.
Only one business discipline on the planet is founded on the premise of turning facts into emotional hot buttons—the craft of the direct marketing writer.
It stands to reason that a direct marketing writer is the one professional with the knowledge, experience and intuition to reverse the process—to take all the hype and emotion and turn them into hard facts.
Only then will it be clear what should be done, if anything.