Marketing Truths: You Are Not Your Prospect

by Andrew Schulkind

Your website and other digital marketing is only as effective as your message. And your message is only  effective if it speaks to your target audience. If your message is geared toward your needs – rather than your prospects’ – converting traffic to sales is going to be very difficult. If the mismatch is bad enough, attracting traffic at all will be tough.

Your Needs Come Second
With that in mind, it’s vitally important to remember that your needs are not the same as your prospects’ needs. Your marketing must serve their needs first – you provide tools and information that are of value to them and relate to the business problem they are trying to solve. (And for which your product or service is a possible solution.)

Your needs literally do come second. You only win their business after you capture their interest and gain their trust, and demonstrate that you can help them meet their needs.

Your Guess is as Good as Mine
And I don’t know anything about your business!

Seriously, you can take all the educated guesses about what your potential clients are really interested in, or you can ask them. And then you can test.

Don’t fall into the trap of sitting around a table with your fellow sales and marketing team leaders deciding what your marketing should look like. Work with those people who are closer to your clients and who interact with them every day.

Internally, this will be inside and outside sales people, customer service representatives and anyone else who spends significant customer-facing time.

Externally, you’ll want to think about the questions and concerns you hear most frequently from your prospects and clients.

Test To Validate Your Data
Even as you build your message based on real-world information rather than gut instinct, you’ll still want to test it in as many ways as you can. Analytics and metrics are your friend here. Among the tests you can run are:

  • A/B tests of your landing pages
  • A/B tests of your email newsletters – subject lines, delivery timing, etc.
  • Popularity of various content types (video, case studies, infographics, etc.)
  • Popularity of various topics
  • Alignment between content and service lines

The goal throughout is to remove yourself – your unconscious biases and personal preferences – from the process as completely as you can. That’s not to say that your gut instinct has no role in your job as a marketer. But having data and other supporting evidence to rely on will not only increase your likelihood of success in the short term, it will help eliminate the crises of confidence that can occur when you go with your gut and things don’t go as planned.

Because in marketing, as in so many things, you need to be confident in your decision making to perform your best.