I often think that one of the hardest things for marketers and business people to get their heads around is that fact that fundamentally, nobody cares about your product.
I spotted this on the front of a packet of Marks and Spencer fishcakes the other day: “Made with fresh mashed potato in our exclusive golden farmhouse crumb.” The M&S product manager had no doubt done really well in securing the exclusivity of his breadcrumb formula. But at what point did they decide that this was of sufficient relevance to the consumer to make it onto the front of the packaging?
Headlining the fact that the breadcrumbs are “exclusive” over any number of alternatives that might have actually meant something to a customer is to lose sight of one of the fundamentals of human nature. People care about what’s in it for them. If your breadcrumb is “delicious” or “crispy” and my chances of enjoying eating it are improved, then maybe I give a shit. Exclusivity, on the other hands, means nothing. It’s irrelevant to anyone except the M&S product manager who who was so chuffed he stuck it on his packaging brief without giving it a second thought.
So anyway, enough ranting about fishcakes. But it’s a valuable reminder one of the most fundamental rules of marketing: put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Is what I’m saying or doing relevant to my audience? Is it valuable? Is there something in it for them? Because if not, you’re back where you started. Nobody cares.