Just a Spoonful of Sharing Helps the Business

London's changed quite a bit since Mary Poppins' time. So should your messaging.
London’s changed quite a bit since Mary Poppins’ time. So should your messaging.

Dirty marketer alert: I’m going to be frank with you and the words may not be pretty. If you’re running a business or a member-based organization, there are things you are going to want to say. If you’re in business, you’re going to want to make money. It’s not ugly, it just is. Your customers or your members don’t really care about what you want to say, unless it just so happens to be something they also want to hear.

The truth is this: you have stuff you want to say.

They have stuff they want to hear.

If you’re good at what you do and you keep your audience in mind, everything you create will overlap and be what you want to say and what they want to hear. Sometimes, just sometimes, you have things you want to say that they don’t know they want to hear. So how do you deliver your message in a way that is palatable to them? That’s when you need Mary Poppins as your marketer – and just a spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down. Yes, I just referred to your important marketing message as medicine — and if it’s something your audience doesn’t want to hear or know they want to hear — that’s how it will be initially met if you come at them and try and force feed them your message.

You need to couple your message with something everyone likes but the dilemma you face as a modern  day marketer is that not everyone likes the same thing. Assuming you’ll argue you have limited resources and you simply can’t customize the message to something everyone likes, then I suggest giving more of yourself, not less. Huh? But you preach it’s about the customer and not about the seller??? It is, until it can’t be. In this case, I’m suggesting sharing of yourself; making it personal. It’s not about your sales message. It’s about you.

Now reach deep because we’re going a bit further. It’s not about you in a generic sense. When you share of yourself, you need to give fully. Please don’t tell me/your audience generic things like, “I like to spend time with my family.” While I may be able to identify with that in a general sense (I like my family too), this sort of blah information is not memorable or specific to you. I want to get to know you. Tell me you like spending Tuesday nights with your son but only after you’ve hidden his drum sticks. This is memorable. It paints a picture in my head. I know several things about you. I know you have a child, a boy. I know something special goes on at your house on Tuesday nights. I know you are not a huge fan of his drum playing and I know you have a sense of humor. This is so much better than telling me you like to spend time with your family. I know nothing from this statement. I don’t know if your family is a herd of cats or 20 children. I can’t identify with anything because you’ve shared nothing.

Sharing should be substantive or it’s not worth doing. Break out of your comfort zone and give people who are going to buy whatever you’re offering, something to chew on. It will resonate with them and make them more apt to want to be a part of what you’re offering. When you don’t have sugar, a little sharing will do.

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The picture in this blog post is another stop on my (future) world tour. I haven’t been to London since 1985 and at that time it looked more like Mary Poppins’ set backdrop than it does now and my main focus was keeping an eye out for John Taylor of Duran Duran. (Needless to say I didn’t see him, I got lost in Harrod’s and ran into someone my parents told me was Conway Twitty.) “The Gherkin” is one of those buildings that looks plucked right out of a fairy tale, like some CGI on the wrong setting.

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