I’ve noticed that most marketing meetings center around this one question: What do we want to tell the target audience about our product?
But that is the wrong question.
The right question is what message must our audience hear in order to be sold an idea?
A quick story. I was presenting ads to a university when they stopped me. “What we really needed to be saying is that the university spent seven million dollars on the construction of a new wing,” they said. “The chancellor would really like to see that in our advertising.”
It was a classic example of marketers talking from their point of view rather than the people they are trying to reach. Tell me this: if you were a busy, working adult who wanted a degree, what would be the more pertinent message? That the university offered convenient class schedules and an accelerated path to a degree…or how much money was spent on the new wing?
It’s tough to do, no doubt. Even companies who commit to asking the right question still find themselves gravitating to the wrong question: what do we want to say?
If you don’t believe me, try this. Next time you go into a marketing meeting, see whose point of view is talked about more: yours or your audience.
Ask and answer the right question, and watch sales rise.