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Ruminations from open’s internal braintrust

Expertise is organic. It must be constantly nurtured if it is to grow and flourish. This is one of the fundamental pillars of OPEN’s internal culture.

Marvin Chaulk, Vice-President, Senior Consultant
OPEN Communications

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the opinions and musings behind the expertise

Blog Author: Marvin Chaulk

It’s Not About You

Marvin Chaulk

Posted: April 15, 2013

The next time you have a marketing meeting, pay attention to the number of times you use the word “we” when you describe your product or service. Have a look at your website. Review a proposal or two. Listen in on a sales pitch. Count the number of times you present your product or service from your perspective.

Over the years, I have worked with many companies to help them develop marketing materials and advertising campaigns. At the start of the project kick-off meeting, I would always write the word “CUSTOMER” in the middle of the whiteboard. Every time someone spoke from their company’s perspective or started a sentence with “we”, I would quietly and incessantly point to the word “CUSTOMER”. It often took some time to break the cycle and get people thinking from the customer’s perspective.

To your potential customer, it really isn’t about you. It’s about them. They have a problem and they are looking for a solution. If you cannot demonstrate a clear understanding of their needs and communicate how your product or service meets that need ‘from their perspective’, you will have a much harder time connecting with them in a meaningful way.

It is human nature to describe things from your own perspective - we are all fallible to the notion that we are centers of our own universe. Think about it this way – reflect back on a recent conversation with someone who only talked about themselves. Did you find yourself tuning out after a few minutes when you realized they have no apparent interest in you? Did you find yourself avoiding them at the next social function? So what makes your marketing campaign any different? What about that proposal you submitted last week? Have you engaged your potential customer and showed that you are interested in their needs? Have you written the content from their perspective using words like “you”? Or did you talk about the bells and whistles of your product and how it is better than the competitors?

Successful marketing and advertising campaigns are built on the “It’s About Them” principle. These are the campaigns that capture the attention of prospective buyers, create a connection, develop trust and ultimately lead to sales. The next time you are developing marketing content, try outlining the key benefits your customer will experience first and then back it up with the relevant features that make it possible. You will notice that the message starts becoming more about the customer than about yourself.