Missing Your Target Is Simple When You Stare at Your Own Navel

You Might Be Talking Someone Out of Considering Your Product

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Bart Cleveland
Bart Cleveland
I received this email the other day. Take a look and see if you can tell what's wrong with this picture.

Dear Bart,

Can you point me to the person in your organization who is most responsible for managing your marketing databases?

I would like to forward some info on my company's complimentary predictive modeling services, which enable us to statistically profile your best customers, and to identify highly targeted prospects who[sic] most closely resemble them.

By appending our demographic and geographic data to your customer files and then modeling the results, we are able to pinpoint your best prospects with mathematical precision. One of the key advantages to working with [company name] is that we don't charge for our modeling services when you commit to purchasing targeted lists from our multi-source marketing database of U.S. businesses and consumers.

Any help you can provide in putting me in touch with the right person would be much appreciated, and will likely help us both.

Do you see the irony? A company that wants to sell me services to target best prospects with pinpoint accuracy is asking me for help to pinpoint their best prospect. A convincing argument for not using the company, is it not?

This blunder reminded me that advertisers and their agencies make this type of mistake frequently. Having the mindset that our point of view is the only one needed is an illogical conclusion, yet most common. It's the same as thinking, "If we just tell them what we do, they'll come running."

I have to believe the poor individual that emailed this to me has no idea that he actually demonstrated his product is flawed. Now the company has the unenviable task of undoing the damage. Good luck. I have to call it like I see it: This reeks of laziness.

What's the application? Don't be lazy. Anyone can crank out a "me, me, me" ad. Write a communication that is from the point of view of the potential customer. I know, this sounds so rudimentary. But if that's the case, why is so much of what our industry produces ignoring the target ? I think its because we care too much about it pleasing the advertiser rather than the consumer. We concentrate too little on the one that matters most: the customer. I'm sure the email I received was deemed a convincing piece of communication. It was. It convinced me the source of the communication didn't know what they were talking about.

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