They’re asking “what’s in it for me?”

You know it’s always easier to sell when your prospect is already looking for what you offer. When they’re interested, even when they’ve already done some research, they’re more open to hearing your story and making a decision.

Great marketing is about people and how they choose. So who are these people and what do they expect?

Today your audiences have more choices than ever before. Whether they’re looking for a new car, or a business is looking for a network provider or a CNC machine, there are choices, choices and more choices. To be effective, to get a higher response to your marketing, start defining how to reach your audiences effectively, where and when they’re choosing, with these critical questions.

If someone is looking for what you offer, where are they looking? And if they find you, what do they see? Do they understand why they should choose you?

overwhelmed and time starved

 A brand helps people choose

A brand is more than slapping a logo and a corporate color on everything. It’s made up of experiences, what your audience sees, reads and hears and learns. It’s also built by the connections people have with representations of your company–signing, lobby, retail space, website, advertising, vehicles, catalog, social media, personal service–even something as simple as your voicemail message.

That means … you have a brand whether you’re managing it or not. And … perception is reality. 

What people think about who you are, what you offer and where you fit in your industry … is their reality. To communicate clearly with them, clearly enough to motivate them to move forward in the decision process, you must reach them from their reality, not your own.

Do you understand what your best potential customers are looking for? Who they are, as individuals? How and where they prefer to communicate? What their expectations are?

Effective marketing requires first understanding the audiences you’re trying to reach. Who they are in the decision process. Which age group or generation they belong to. What is their “trigger” for looking for what you offer? What are their perceptions or misperceptions about your offering, your industry or the outcomes they can expect if they choose you? Audience perceptions and their worldview must drive your marketing decisions.

attitudes of three generations, Inc.

This excellent chart from Inc. magazine, November 2012 issue, shows the different values, perspectives and communication styles of three different generations. Which one is your primary target?

Different generations communicate differently

After all, good marketing is good communications. Just one of today’s challenges for marketers is understanding the different viewpoints held by different audiences. The chart above is a snapshot of essential reference points for the three generations in today’s marketplace.

What’s even more interesting (this chart is from November 2012) is that Facebook no longer has such strong appeal to Millennials. They are now fleeing to newer platforms–Instagram and Vine are just two hot ones.

Back to clear communication … in addition to understanding the generations and how they prefer to communicate, better marketing that will drive sales tells the audiences “why” instead of “what.”

Communicate value, not just what you do

Your audiences really don’t care what you do or how you do it. They care about what outcome they’re going to get from your products or services. Are  you saving me time? Are you making me look beautiful? Are you solving a problem? Rather than focus on a detailed list of products and model numbers, sizes and functionality; or a checklist of services … tell your audiences why.

Wha't in it for me?

Build your key messages around “what’s in it for me?”

When you reach your audiences to address THEIR concerns, their expectations, their issues … you’ll connect on a different level. You’ll be moving towards choosing you over someone who may offer similar products or services.

It’s emotional not technical or logical in most cases. (Although most people will still try to find a logical explanation for why they bought that hot new car, rather than admit that the decision was emotional.) And when you can help them feel good about what you offer, bring a smile to their face or delight them in some way, you’ll be remembered. You’ll stand out.

Don’t overwhelm them with information and details. Keep the message simple and direct. And avoid default words like “solution” or “quality” or “service.” Use a bold visual system to rise above the chaos. Ensure text is broken up into chunks, especially online where people scan instead of read. When you can use a picture to tell a story, (remember that thousand word phrase?), do it.

hole not drillAt the end of the day, better marketing is better communications.

Better marketing is reaching people from their point of view, addressing their concerns, not your own. It’s understanding their perspective so you can choose communication channels that fit. It’s creating information that will help them choose.

And today, it’s creating an online experience (because that’s where most people start their search) that informs, illuminates, educates and helps them evaluate and choose.

Great marketing is like dating. Getting to know someone, what they like and don’t like. Connecting with them on a personal level. When sales comes in to pop the question (let’s get married!), they should already have an affinity for you, like you, and want to make the commitment.

better marketing = bigger salesBetter marketing is building a great brand that’s enticing and engaging, through the total experience. A brand that builds a compelling story of “what’s in it for me?”

And when your marketing is better, the dating process is successful. Your audience will want to marry you, rather than someone else they’ve been dating.

10 Steps to Optimize Your Brand

We’ve put together an e-book for business owners and managers who know they need to shift their marketing strategy for today’s world, but don’t know where to start.

When your brand is optimized, it’s focused on your audiences and their expectations. It’s tuned to today’s communication channels. It’s based on the position you’ve defined for yourself in your market. The position that differentiates you from other choices.

When your brand is optimized, you’ll see bigger  response to your marketing and a higher return on your investment.


Of course, if you have any questions or would like to dig deeper on any of our practices, give us a call toll-free, 866.363.4433.

To read Part 1 of this series, here’s the link.

If you’re interested in seeing the results we have created for clients with our proven brand optimization process, visit our website.

As always, Brand Responsibly!

(you can also download our Brand Responsibly Manifesto here … to guide, share, discuss, post)

About The Author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer founded Creative Company with two partners in 1978 in Salem, Oregon. Her training as a graphic designer has guided the company's focus on brand persona founded in design and message, generating the brand optimization methodology. Award winning design, on point messaging and strategic positioning have generated response for clients since 1978.

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