That’s equivalent to everyone in the United States writing five articles on marketing! It’s insane to think there are that many great ideas on the topic of marketing when I just finished watching millions of dollars get wasted on 30-second ad spots during the Super Bowl. The real answer is that they are no different than you they just have more free time.
We seek out experts because of an age-old question, “How do I get better?” In business, we ask the same question, but instead we phrase it as follows, “How do I make more revenue?” Both of these questions are founded on the same idea — that better equals more. I’m not disagreeing with this, but I am disagreeing with what better means, because it’s not what is better for you, but what is better for your consumers that really matters. This is the big issue I have with many marketers and many marketing experts. They are focused on what they think and not what the consumers think.
The reality is, I’ve asked thousands of marketers one particular question, and only once received a yes: “Have you ever picked up the telephone and called a person who downloaded a white paper to ask them their thoughts on it?” Marketers say nothing, and instead look blankly at me when I ask this. The only time I heard a yes, I literally walked up to the man and gave him a hug. It took three years and more than 50 marketing events to find the single marketer who said, “Yes, I’ve done that.”
Why is this a hard concept to grasp? Talking to your customers about their experience is the best way to improve — not reading an article on how to make a better white paper. If you don’t ask for feedback from your constituents, then you are simply operating in abstractions instead of reality. You’re also failing to live up to another great law of marketing that was proselytized by the great David Ogilvy: “The consumer is not dumb, she is your wife.” Failing to give your consumers credit for knowing what they like, want, and need is the same as never talking to your spouse and only reading books to make them happy. Does that make any sense? NO! So here it goes: if you want to be better at marketing, stop reading all of the crap people write. Just because a person has a title of CMO, CEO, VP, evangelist, or whatever else they put in front of their name, doesn’t mean they are any smarter than you or have any better insights into your customers. If you’ve found this article, you’ve likely read enough marketing materials to be great at your job, but you may be underestimating the power of the telephone. Pick it up and use it! Read more…