It’s Not About You, It’s About Me

Miles Burke

In Australia, many companies take this time of year to send paper or electronic Christmas cards, and wish their clients and suppliers a great festive season. We’re no different—my business traditionally sends both paper cards and electronic messages to our clients and our favorite suppliers.

I always get a pile of emails from businesses around the globe wishing me and my business a Happy New Year as well. One of these was from a business I really look up to.

I’m sure, like me, you have favorite businesses: those that are creative in everything they do, are smart and do great work, or offer great products. This business is one of those. A business I really aspire to.

So, I was chuffed to see I had an email from them, with the usual creative imagery, and then the words ‘Please watch our CEO’s video message’. Here we go, I thought, even their CEO is getting into the festive spirit, and has said a few nice words about all their clients, of which I’m one.

The video is just under two minutes long. The first 100 seconds or more of this is their CEO talking about the awards they have won through the year, the products they have released, and the businesses they have acquired. He also covers the praise their business has received from their customers, and what great work they are doing.

The last ten seconds is the wrap up, where they are offering all their customers a special over the next few weeks. Then it ends.

Wow, I thought. What a fantastic opportunity lost. Here’s an email all very festive, wishing me a Happy Christmas, with images that made me feel the video was about the festive season, and then nearly two minutes of video footage of the CEO of this company telling me how great they are.

Instead of a short video with the CEO thanking all their customers for the opportunities they’ve had over the year, the great relationships they have forged, and something to wish me, one of their customers, a great festive season and year ahead, I’ve just watched two minutes of propaganda about how great they are.

What a waste of my time, and what a waste of a great marketing opportunity. Have you ever been guilty of this? Let’s learn from this mistake and apply it to our own businesses—when we’re marketing to existing or prospective customers, we should be trying to stand in their position—what do you believe they want to hear or read? They want to know you are a great business, sure, however what they really want to hear is what you can do for them.

A simple way of approaching this is looking at your marketing materials and reduce the amount of ‘we’ and ‘us’ and add more ‘you’ and yours’. If you ever do produce a video from the CEO, make sure you understand what viewers will want to hear too.

Good luck in marketing less you and more me, your customer.