// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Friday, September 08, 2006

Marketing. One Customer at a Time.

It kills me when a copywriter actually uses the words "You, the customer" in an ad, something like...

"We value you – because you, the customer, are our customer."
Ads cost the same amount of money to produce and execute whether they're good or bad. In the case of marketing, advertising and communications in general, producing disingenuous material equates to a "missed" opportunity. When marketing communication's are approached like a standard conversation and the audience is fully considered, only then can a message resonate.

To communicate this point, over the summer my wife sent out a letter, as many teachers do, to all 29 of her students. This letter introduced herself; wished them a nice summer; told them how excited she is to meet them; then provided tangible activities they could do during the summer to best prepare them for the school year ahead. The letter was heartfelt, yet exactly the same for all 29 students.

When the first day of class rolled around just recently, a half dozen or so of her students came up to her at different points during the course of the day to tell her how special it was that they received such a personal and encouraging letter from their soon-to-be 5th grade school teacher. The letter obviously made an impact and communicated the fact that she was looking forward to having them on board.

The Point (Yes, I have one):

My wife's "audience" consisted of 29 distinctly different little people and their immediate families. However, based on how she fashioned the communication, each student felt as if they were the only one who the letter was written to. The same effect may not have been realized had the letter said something like...
"I personally welcome you, the student, to a wonderful year..."
Effective marketing should be approached like a personal conversation. Honest, genuine, compassionate, respectful of who you're talking to, when you talk, and how much you say. Because after all, your brand's the collective feeling your audience has about you. And your audience are in fact people, who live and breathe (like you). They reach their conclusions based on the collective interactions and communications they're exposed to, by you. And the receptionist. And through conversations on weekends. You get the drift.

Like this post suggests, the problem with marketing is unfortunately so often, well, marketing. Follow this link to Mark Bixby.com. He too sees this from a similar angle as I. Mark is smart.


Anonymous mark said...

Mark IS smart. ;) Good blog so far. Well written. Keep it up.

9:26 PM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Thanks man. I highly appreciate your perspective.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Drew Shields said...

Well said Barry. You always do such a good job of getting people to think about what exactly they're saying from the listener's perspective. Keep the thoughtful posts coming!

9:04 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Ironic how when a portion of one's job includes creating marketing communications, often we forget the people.

Thanks for your comments. I respect your perspective highly, and it's great to hear from you.

9:53 AM  

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