People don’t care. Well, more accurately, they don’t care about all the things you care about. You may find people where you have common interests. However, even then, the level of care you each have for different things will probably vary wildly.
I was working with a client recently to refine their marketing message and the use of social media and advertising to share this message. Like most entrepreneurs, the client LOVED their product. And it is a genuinely great product. I buy it and even give it as a gift to others. The client was insistent on sharing all the reasons the product was great. “We won these awards and recognition, and everyone tells me they love it.”
Okay, you’re great. I happen to strongly agree. The problem is the typical consumer does not know you, has been trained to not trust advertising, is bombarded by messages they’ve had to learn to ignore, and has no relationship with you. The same goes for any business audience, including an audience of one.
You care, they don’t. And forcing your message on them is more likely to irritate them than interest them. After all, how do you feel about pop-up advertisements when browsing and sales calls at dinner?
The problem this creates for effective communication is that if someone does not care about your topic, product, or message, they will likely ignore you. The fact you care might instill curiosity or at least some level of mutual courtesy. Maybe. But not likely.
So what can you do about this? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Realize that not everyone will care about your topic or message. Accept it. Embrace it. You’ll feel better right away because this acceptance will mean generally mean that it is not about you any longer. It is nothing personal (usually).
2. Be of true value to the consumer or audience. Immediately. Don’t waste their valuable time first.
3. Unless someone comes to you asking questions, never educate first. I don’t have the time or patience for everyone to teach me why I need to listen to them. I’m sure you don’t and neither does your audience.
4. Have a clear point. Don’t make anyone work too hard to understand the maximum value or benefit. Cute or witty may get your advertising firm a nice award, but will it consistently sell your idea, product or service?
Naturally, there are a host of other great ideas on sharing a message and there is no single magic approach. If there such a single approach, we’d all know everything and advertising agencies would have no purpose to exist.
Just be sure to honestly put yourself in the position of your audience. If they won’t care, you’ve got work to do. And that’s okay; we’ve all got work to do on this.
Glenn S. Phillips is the author of the book Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself. You can email Glenn directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn is also the president of Forte’ Incorporated, a consulting firm that works with business leaders to understand and address the often hidden technology and business risks lurking within their organizations.
© Copyright 2012. Glenn S. Phillips, Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111