The perils of projection

How many times have you heard a client or a colleague say, “No one reads print anymore” or “No one is doing B-to-B business on Twitter” – or in fact anything beginning with the words “No one”?

Projection, or assuming that others feel the same way you do, is a totally normal and typical human behavior. I can’t stand opera, so I can’t imagine how anyone could like it. (That’s true, by the way. Who can sit through four hours of that?)

But it’s our job as marketing experts to know better. We all want to like the work we produce, but we have to understand that what our clients need is for their target market – a demographic which may be very different from our own – to like the work. And even more important, our clients need for their target market to be compelled by the work to take action, or at least think about the brand in a certain way.

Some very basic commodities have the potential to provide value for everyone on earth, but most of the things we bring to market are aimed at a specific audience. With B-to-B, it’s even more narrowly targeted. When we craft a campaign for a client, these are the people we need to speak to with our message.

A really, really successful campaign for my client’s broadcast transmission product might not move me all that much. That’s fine, because I don’t purchase those products. My strategic and creative teams are tasked with finding the message that hits a bull’s eye for that specific market. If the campaign moves the needle for sales, it’s doing its job – and so am I.

There’s a market for every product out there, and each one is unique. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Just look around the world and it’s easy to see how different we all are. Far beyond vanilla and chocolate, we have dozens of flavors, hundreds of media channels and enough products to keep us all in business for the rest of time. And a lot of those products, including some of the most successful ones, probably prompted someone along the development channel to say, “no one is going to buy that.” But when the product brings value to a market, lots and lots of people in that market do buy it, and that’s what we need to remember.

After all, even opera houses are filled for every performance. Though I have to admit, that one still baffles me.

 

2017-05-02T10:54:04+00:00

About the Author:

Diana is the President of LRG Marketing Communications.