You’re working on a strategy or creative execution, and you’re crushing it!
You’ve clearly created a brilliant battle plan that will succeed in achieving your business objectives. You know exactly what you want people to do after they’ve been exposed to your genius.
On paper, you’ve solved the problem. In discussions, you’ve won the war.
It’s all over but planting a flag and leading an army of dedicated loyalists and new customers.
Bam! Victory–– glorious victory!
Not so fast.
I used to work with a client who at these planning moments would sound a bullhorn of reality with one simple statement: “I think we’re smelling our own breath here.”
That was his way of saying we were too close to it. We were talking to ourselves, getting ‘too insider’ and blowing smoke.
Why do so many marketers spend so much time, energy and money talking to themselves?
Because it’s easy.
Marketers have a clear vision of the results we want, but we don’t have an honest assessment of what people are really thinking, feeling, believing, doing.
We know what we want, but do we have any idea of what they want?
Are we giving them a compelling and believable enticement for believing us?
If we don’t gut check ourselves, we’ll talk to ourselves and waste marketing dollars.
Don’t be afraid to call “bullshit” when you’re discussing strategies, creative briefs, and action plans. Embrace vigorous and honest debates.
Ask for substantiation and research that illuminates consumer beliefs and behaviors. If you don’t have it, why not?
Isn’t what your audience thinks kind of important?
Also, know that people are unpredictable and that the stimulus we create may or may not entice the behavior we want.
That, my friend, is why marketing is more art than science.
Be brave, be empathetic, be human.
And always remember it’s not about us, it’s about them–– and if we leave them out of the process, we’ll only be talking to ourselves.
When that happens, we don’t usually have minty fresh breath.