If you want to improve your marketing, forget pushing envelopes, thinking outside of boxes, or any other nonsense-speak recommendations.
Instead, just stop being so egocentric.
Communication is about what other people understand, not what you say.
In other words, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
If you want to engage other people, you need to be relevant to them, and that means starting from their perspective.
Ruby really gets this, and she and her team regularly share the perspectives of the people we want to engage.
Two sentences in a recent post really struck me:
“To Alex…, the technology within their lives is ‘an accessory’;
Alex explains it’s ‘no different’ to his clothing… There is no
gap, no split, no chasm – he doesn’t talk about going offline,
returning online, or anything like that – technology is there…
and he uses it as he wishes and needs.”
The importance of this struck me at the time, but Neil‘s reminded me why these perspectives are so important.
He argues that:
“in light of the digitisation of all media, [the term digital] is losing
its meaning; that the days of specialism are over.”
He goes on to qualify this hypothesis, and ends up with more questions than answers (and rightly so).
But I think Neil’s questions arise because of a broader issue: as an industry, we still see the world almost entirely from our perspective.
It’s clear in the way we talk; for example, we refer to activities as “above-the-line”, “below-the-line”, “through-the-line”, or any other point relative to this apocryphal ‘line’.
But where exactly is that line?
It’s on the client’s balance sheet – a reference for finance people and shareholders.
It has very little to do with the people we want to influence.
So why do we still refer to activities in relation to this ‘line’?
The audience certainly don’t care about it, so what’s it doing in our plans?
And this is only one example of our introverted myopia.
Perhaps more concerning is our continued obsession with dividing the world up into different ‘media’.
Why do we do this?
It’s a perspective from our world, not from that of our audience.
As Ruby noted in the article above, people live seamless lives: they don’t distinguish between life ‘online’ and ‘offline’, or even between ‘media’.
Whatever they do, it’s all just part of their lives.
And if we want to connect with people, we can do it through anything we like.
Only agencies and marketers delineate the world relative to media or lines.
So let’s end this self-centred foolishness.
Let’s think about what matters to the people that matter to us, and how we can become relevant to them.
Because if we’re not relevant to them, why would they ever care about us or what we have to say?