Quit marketing to yourself

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

We’ve all seen them. Advertising and marketing that leaves you with a “huh?” instead of a “wow”. From my experience, too many marketers try to communicate the wrong audience. They do this by mostly trying to please themselves. They act like “they” are the market. They make judgements from strategic (the big idea) to the tactic (color of the background) based on what “they” like instead of what will my customers will be attracted to. For example, men thinking their brand of humor relates to a woman. There’s nothing more stupid than thinking “stupid guy humor” really appeals to a woman enough to check out your product. Holly Buchanan has a great blog and example about this. http://marketingtowomenonline.typepad.com/blog/what_were_they_thinking/

My advice, quit making marketing judgements based on your personal tastes. Often, I tell my clients, “I know if I thrill your customers, you will be thrilled. ” My true client is my client’s customers, not the CMO who hired me. Unfortunately, too many marketers forget that marketing and advertising is for their customers, not for them or their spouses or their best friends or their secretary. (These people only count if they are truly your customers.) I know this is common sense, but unfortunately, many forget that. They make it personal. As the saying goes, “It’s not personal, it’s just business.”

Where it should become personal is making a genuine connection with your customers. It’s not about what you like, but what is meaningful to them. Sorry, it’s hardly ever about you when it comes to marketing to your customers. It is your customers who you need to please and attract, not your own style or tastes.

I view it this way. Integrated marketing and corporate branding are our areas of expertise. When it comes to accounting, law, or even office repairs, we hire professionals who are great in those areas. We don’t tell them how to do their job or micromanage. We only share with them what outcome we want and let them perform at their best. The same goes with your marketing agency. You should set goals and expectations, but not micromanage to the point where you have executive level people spending time on whether the headline should be blue or red. There are bigger decisions to be made on the strategic level. Most of the time, you’ll end up pleasing yourself, but not your customers. Now, if you’re not getting the results you need, then hire a marketing agency that “gets” your customers. You’re great at making the widget. Marketing agencies are great at reaching and connecting with customers. If you understand how to leverage your marketing agency the right way, you’ll not only get the results you want, but you’ll get their best work because you’ve allowed them to do what they are good at on your behalf without getting in their way.

To keep from producing marketing that makes your customers go “WTF?”, don’t rely on using yourself as the measuring stick. It’s your customers who you want to say, “That’s exactly how I feel. They get me.”



About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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