The Marketer’s Biggest Mistake

Chris Brogan

What we tend to do wrong when we market is we think we’re selling to ourselves. We think our buyer thinks like us. We believe that our buyer is us. Now, sometimes, that’s true to an extent. When Josh makes superhero tee shirts, he’s making shirts that he (and I) think are cool and that we like. But even then, does that mean we’ll know what a buyer who isn’t us will like? Does it mean we’ll understand why he or she won’t buy a certain shirt, or what assurances he or she needs? No.

You Can Always Ask

One way to know your buyer is to ask. At Kitchen Table Companies, Joe Sorge and I have started asking people who they are and what they want from us as often as possible. We’re relentless, because in so doing, we will have the chance to better serve those buyers. But remember that sometimes your buyers and your customers don’t really understand why they buy what they buy. Sometimes, what they say out of their mouth is the justification versus the underlying emotion. So even that can’t always work.

You Can Measure

Have you ever used Crazy Egg? It does a great job of showing you what people linger on with regards to your website. I know this doesn’t help you understand how people act in the real world with your things, but it at least tells you how they spend time on your site.

Are you really spending enough time poring over your Google Analytics? You’re not using them? Well, how will you know what people are clicking or not clicking? How do you know what catches their attention?

Measuring is another way to better understand how you are not your buyer.

You Can Experiment

We don’t do a lot of A/B split testing in the blogging and new media world, do we? And yet, that’s how marketers have tried and improved their efforts for the longest times. You don’t have to do a LOT of it to understand what works and doesn’t, but you can always explore. Switching between whether or not you should do a partial RSS feed (I prefer full feeds) is one way to test. Switching your ads from the bottom to the top of your site. Using an email capture lightbox when people first land on your site. There are all kinds of things you can experiment with and see what that’s going to do for you.

You’re Not The Buyer

We’re not always who we sell to, and even then, there are some differences when we’re the ones creating the thing we’re selling. We might be “of” that culture, but we’re still just one component of it, and as someone vending a product or service into the culture, we’re still a bit “apart” from those who are participating differently. Does that make sense?

How do you combat that?

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