You Are Not the Audience! Creating Messages That Resonate
The problem is, I was evaluating the campaigns through my own filters. I would judge verbiage based on whether I would say it that way. I would judge graphics and layout based on whether it was visually pleasing to me. I thought I knew who I was selling to. In truth, I had only been in the market for a few years and had such a one-sided view of our target customer that any opinions I had were largely irrelevant.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a shortcoming that applies only to the young marketer. Seasoned professionals still make this mistake. Maybe they are even more prone to it since after so many years in an industry feel that they should be the expert. Image is everything as they say. Any appearance of not being the expert could be seen as tarnishing that carefully honed image.
Non-marketing professionals almost always make that mistake. I have had many tense discussions with one particular individual. He is bright, confident, and could “sell ice to Eskimos.” However, his written communications, even to prospects, come across as haughty and terse. He does not appreciate my edits to his marketing communications. I'll share more on dealing with these types of situations in another post!
There are many ways to make sure your marketing resonates with an audience. Here are four:
Develop close relationships with a few of your existing customers. Ask them to critique your message to see if they think it would resonate with their peers. Don’t debate their opinion. Just take it as a data point.
If you don’t have any experience with an audience, do formal research. If you don’t have a research background, I recommend hiring a consultant. It adds to the cost, but it can significantly improve the usefulness of the research.
Go on customer calls with your salespeople. You’re there as an observer, but it will help to hear what prospects say as your products and value propositions are presented.
Finally, be careful asking for opinions from others. You can get opinions from the salespeople, but more often than not, their opinions will be based on the last difficult sales call. Again, great data point, but it’s no replacement for direct feedback from a larger group of customers and prospects.