I can’t count the number of times I’ve been watching TV with a friend or family member only to have them declare, “that’s a stupid commercial!” And every time I ask if they would buy the advertised product, I get a resounding NO. So…that means they aren’t talking to you! I know we think that every piece of overt commercial messaging is geared directly towards us, but if we can let go of the thought that we are not, in fact, the center of every marketer’s universe, we would realize that certain products just aren’t geared toward us…and that’s ok.
When you’re on the other side of the table, the marketing table that is, it’s imperative to keep in mind who you’re talking to. More often than we like, us marketers are sitting at the table with high-level executives who are looking to accomplish bottom-line goals and business needs through marketing tactics (only half the time do these goals even require a marketing effort, so no pressure there). It’s easy to loose site of who you’re talking to, and thereby missing the value proposition that will appeal to the customer you’re asking to lay out cash for your product.
I find the voice of the customer very often being drowned out by the voice of the executive board. But marketing seems sexy and everyone fancies themselves a Mad Man (little do they know how UNsexy marketing is with the nightmare of managing expectations, vendor relations, and trying desperately to convince everyone that all SUCCESSFUL marketing is a long-term strategy, not just a shot in the arm).
The long story short here, is don’t forget that you’re the consumer too. What’s going to convince YOU to part with your paycheck? Are you speaking to your customer in a way that makes sense and meets THEIR needs, not the needs of the boardroom marketing junkies? Keep that consumer-first focus, do the research, ask people if your strategy is resonating with them (even if you just have to invite your friends over for pizza and beer to probe them with questions). Let the data points and industry best practices guide you.
So…are you talking to ME?