One of the most difficult things to get your head around when you are designing or creating something for your customers is that your opinion doesn’t matter. What really matters is whether the people you want to buy your product, like what you are selling.

You see, no matter how much you say you would buy or use your product, you actually usually, already have. You’ve committed, you love it, you want to share it. You’ve already bought it.

Advertising is about getting people to buy something. Web pages are no different. You want people who visit your page, or see your ad, to be inspired to convert and become your customer. What you really need to do is go back to where your mind began, back before you had the product, and target yourself then. Target yourself needing or wanting the product or service.

It’s quite seriously, something that is very, very difficult to do. And it frustrates marketers a hell of a lot.

People will always have their feedback and always give their opinion as to what is presented to them. But they aren’t the target market. They aren’t the ones we are trying to appeal to. So their opinion actually doesn’t matter.

As a trained and experience marketer, it is the one true skill or talent that differentiates you from the general population. It’s the art in marketing. It’s the thing that can’t really be taught. Every job/task/career/hobby has something like this. Many people can draw, but talented people can draw so it appeals to an audience. Many people can play sport, but it’s the talented (and hardworking) people that excel to the elite levels. Many people can write marketing content, but it’s the talented people that can write content that people want to read, and not only read, but click and convert.

As a marketer, I do research on my target audience. I look at what is working for competitors, I try to work out what talks to the target market. And then I try to make it. Often people will look at what’s come out and make changes in look, feel, flow and design. And what is presented will come out the end looking nothing like what I began with.

And then, it stands the test of time. It’s where A/B testing comes in. When people present their opinions, I will often say “Let’s try both” and stand my version (or my team’s versions) up against the non-marketer version. Just to see which one gets clicked more.

You can see my previous blog that mentioned the hands picture saga. Well, here’s another story for you.

Step in your customer’s shoes

We were once working on a TV ad campaign and we utilised the services of another creative agency. Our marketing team worked with the agency to build 3 campaigns.

  • The first was very cliché, very boring, very dull, very similar to just about every television ad on TV.
  • The second campaign was an in-the-middle with a bit of interest each way, and very cliché to the industry that we were targeting.
  • The third was totally out there, very different, used a popular song with the plan to tack it onto a campaign across radio and everything you could think of.

As the marketers and creative agency, we met and we all equally agreed that the third one was the best option. And then we made a pivotal error. We presented the three options to the entire management team of the company and asked for their feedback and opinions.

The entire team were telling us what they thought, what they liked, what they didn’t like, what would make them buy, what wouldn’t make them buy. And the end result was they picked the middle version (cliché to their industry) and made it cliché to the world.

The CEO was then ready to go ahead with the campaign and was going to sign on the dotted line. But again, we met with the external agency. We decided none of us (marketing team or external agency) were happy with the outcome. So we told the CEO we didn’t want to go ahead.

We presented him with a plan. We would go away, we would work together to come up with the absolute best campaign he could ever think of. We’d bring back a single option and show him and their team. We wouldn’t present a choice, we’d just show them and monitor their reactions.

I will always remember what he told me. He told me, we’d already asked their opinion. Now we had to cover for our mistake. So, we had better make something so phenomenal and amazing that it makes everyone who watches it, cry.

It was a challenge. It was something we thought we could do. So, we went away. We met multiple times throughout the weeks, we researched customers, clients, staff, managers, spoke to people, did surveys, gathered so much information. Then we banded together and made something.

We took it back to the CEO and showed him a demo roll.

After showing the CEO, he grinned at us and he told us “Perfect, this will make people cry, you can show it to them”.

And so one by one, we showed it to the same people that had previously created their own campaign. We showed it to them with potential and current customers present. It literally was about 1 in 2 people who would have tears in their eyes after watching our stock imagery that had been selected by our designers slide across a screen with text, written by marketers, all the while behind it, a haunting tune that perfectly matched the emotions we wanted to portray.

Each person we showed told us, it was amazing, they wanted this one, they had no feedback, no suggestion for change, nothing.

It was an important lesson for everyone to learn. For us, for the creative agency, for the CEO and for that management team.

Their customer was not them. It didn’t matter what they liked, what mattered was who we could talk to and who we wanted to talk to.

Always remember, your customer is not you. You’ve already bought. You need to be talking to people who haven’t bought yet. And a real marketer will be able to talk to those people.


Read about why it’s important to get your message right in Lost in Translation, 8 top global advertising fails that will make you fall off your chair!

Your Customer is not You
Article Name
Your Customer is not You
You are not your customer, no matter how much you know your industry. Sometimes you can be too close to it. Step in your customers shoes.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo