Friday, October 24, 2008

Do you "we" on potential customers?

Ever been on a blind date with someone who chatters incessantly about himself or herself, never bothering to ask a question about YOU? As the unrelenting drone of "blah-blah-blah-me-me-me" anesthetizes your brain, you plot to escape out the bathroom window. You wonder if your date would notice.

It's amazing, but some advertisers act like that boorish blind date, using advertising communications that "we" on their prospects. In other words, they unintentionally turn off potential customers by focusing exclusively on themselves. For example:

"Here at Acme Corporation, Inc., the Midwest's largest widget manufacturing company, we produce 3.2 million widgets daily, and we ship them to more than 2,300 major customers across the nation with our fleet of 250 tractor-trailers.

"We have won more than 40 "Widgie"® awards from the Widget Association of America (WAA) for excellent safety records in our state-of-the-art production facility."

As a potential widget customer, all I hear is "we-we-we." What about "me-me-me?"

I'll do business with a company that offers me ways to solve a problem, save money, or find a better way to get something done -- not a company that just crows about how great they are. I'm thinking of buying widgets from Apogee Corporation. Their brochure says:

"You have a problem: leaky dolyflappers. We have the solution: Apogee customized widgets.

"Wouldn't it be great if you could eliminate the safety hazard of dolyflapper leaks on your plant floor and the time and labor costs of cleaning them up? Now you can, with Apogee customized widgets.

"Customers told us their number one headache is leaking dolyflappers. Those leaks occur because most widgets are manufactured to such wide tolerances that they can't possibly prevent leaks in every application. But Apogee widgets can, because they are custom-manufactured to your dolyflapper specifications. . . ."

As a potential customer, I think, "Hey. Leaking dolyflappers IS my biggest headache! These folks really know my business! I'm calling Apogee!"

To reach new customers, communicate using less "we" and more "you." Be interested in learning about potential customers' challenges. Develop a dialogue with them, as you would with a fascinating blind date. Find a way to meet their challenges, and tell them about it in a compelling way. Now, that could be the start of something big!

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