Listening to your audience
Updated: May 31, 2020
Investment in conversation - stop shouting and start listening.
As you strut confidently towards the hall, you feel prepared to sell every person in the room. Motivational recordings pumped your adrenaline and you’ve read the latest marketing book. Every pocket of your new suit contains a shiny business card with a fresh new logo. You did everything that you could to make that perfect textbook first impression. As you walk into the room, you notice a group of people laughing, smiling, and enjoying the conversation of their peers. Lines of an elevator pitch roll in your head as you approach the merry gathering. As you take a deep breath, you reach out your hand and say, “Hi, want to buy my product?”
You can guess what happens next. Those words might have well been a bucket of ice water. The group stops laughing and begin to melt away. Even worse, those individuals spend the rest of the night avoiding you. Is this how you would introduce yourself at a party or even a networking social? People do business with a brand they know. Building a relationship with your audience is a slower process, but more beneficial in the long run.
Money is personal. How we spend our money is a reflection of our personality. It demonstrates our beliefs, aspirations, dedication, and responsibilities. It is limited. Most of us work hard to earn every dollar. Who are you that you can expect them to hand it over because you ask for it?
We are attacked thousands of times a day with ads, campaigns, gimmicks, spoofs, and spam that are designed to take our money away. Is it any wonder that society has lost its trust in widespread marketing tactics and in the businesses that deploy those tactics?
One of the biggest reasons that marketing fails is that businesses do not engage in meaningful conversation with their audience. Only by listening can you create an intimate understanding of what is important to your audience. It is important to understand who they are and what they care about before effective content can be created and deployed where they will see it.
If it is as simple as a conversation, then why don’t companies do it? Talking to people is scary. Business owners and corporate leaders are convinced that their widget is the best idea ever made. No one wants to be told that the thing that has demanded so much sacrifice and effort may have flaws or be the wrong direction. It is much easier to spend money on the next marketing wonder widget guaranteed to reach that one percent rather than have coffee with an unsatisfied customer that could provide valuable insight into how to improve or expand.
People want to know that you are real in this day of automatic replies, push-button recordings, and autonomous responses. They want to be heard and respected. They want to have an authentic conversation with brands in exchange for their business.
The rewards of conversation
There are several rewards that can result from this meaningful conversation. Only after you know your audience can you develop content that resonates with them. This understanding provides a focus for your content and makes it easier to create. No more wasting time guessing what to do next.
It also provides a pathway for the deployment of that content. You know where the audience will look for your captivating content and how they will consume it. No more guessing where to spend your ad budget. In addition, you may discover that the best way to approach your audience costs a fraction of what you currently spend.
Another by-product of meaningful conversation is with the evolution of your product or service. Meaningful conversation empowers you with the knowledge of how you can improve your widget to be a better product fit. This new-found insight could also lead to an entirely new widget that serves a need that no one knew existed.
Is talk cheap? Absolutely! It may be one of the best investments of your time and effort.