The language of marketing has shifted dramatically in recent years. A mass marketing mindset has given way to a focus on the customer. As this shift has occurred, the vocabulary of marketing has changed as well. Instead of "I," "we," and "me" setting the tone of marketing messages, the attention has shifted to the customer. Today, "you" and "your" are the pronouns of choice to connect customers with brands. Does this mean that marketers should never talk about themselves and their products? No, but what must happen is marketing messages should respond to the customer's situation rather than always being "buy me now" pleas.
Get Over Yourself
Some people might think that devoting a blog post to emphasize a customer-first mindset is a waste of time because it is a given that marketing is about satisfying customers' needs. Perhaps it would not surprise you that not everyone has gotten the memo. Recently, a colleague showed me a draft of copy for a web page that one of his B2B clients had developed. As I began reading the copy, I was taken aback by the old-school mindset that prevailed in the text. On a single page, the tone of the conversation went as follows:
"We" was used 14 times
"Our" was used 7 times
"Us" was used 1 time
"You" was used 3 times
"Your" was used 3 times
This self-congratulatory tribute to the company left little doubt as to who it saw as the star of the show: Its product. For every time customers were referenced, the company mentioned itself almost four times. Again, I'm not suggesting that companies should never talk about themselves in marketing messages. But, instead of focusing on the company and product, emphasize how customers benefit from the company and product. We can never lose sight of the fact that customers do not buy products; they buy benefits and solutions that products provide.
A New Order
It is time to shuffle the order of pronoun usage in marketing. "You" and "your" maybe second person pronouns according to your English teacher, but they have ascended to first person status in the marketing lexicon When we adopt this new order, the customer's story takes center stage. What are their problems? Their desires? Their dreams? That is what they are really concerned about- not how great your company is because they have solutions that might be of interest to them.
Labels: Customer Relationships