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When It’s All About “We” You Show You Don’t Care About “You”

It’s one of my pet peeves as a marketing professional… marketing copy writing that’s chock full of how great “we” are. That is, when you’re reading the brochure, web site or whatever, all you’re getting is “we’ve been around since the stone age,” “we have great service,” “we are awesome.” Problem is, that type of story telling doesn’t do jack to instruct your audience that you know or understand diddly about them and what their needs are.

When I’m consulting with a prospective client, one of the first things I do is read through whatever marketing pieces they’ve provided, and do the We v. You test. I go through and count the “we” references, versus the “you” references. If the “we” references are any greater than about 1/4 of the “you” references, it’s a fail. Ideally it should be less than that.

It’s not that all that “we” type info isn’t important. It’s just not of primary importance to anyone but the business owner. It should be in there somewhere, just not on the first page. Put it under the About section if you’re dealing with a website, or pare it down and make it a small blurb if you’re working a print piece.

The idea is to tell the story of what you do from your customer’s perspective. For example, rather than this:

“ABC Co. is an industry leader. We’ve been in business since 12 B.C. and our commitment to service excellence is second to none. We offer a lot of gizmo widget products for any need and we take the time to build our gizmos the right way. We believe quality is important. We also have incredible knowledge of the gizmo widget industry…”

…you get the idea. There’s nothing there that tells you that ABC Co. really knows your pain, needs, aspirations or anything at all about you and why you might be looking for a gizmo widget. Instead, ABC Co. should use that perspective to tell their story. Create a story that’s centered around a ‘marketing persona.’ That is think about who needs/wants your product or service. Put yourself in their shoes. Develop that character on paper – what makes them tick, what is their hot button, what’s important to them and will make them move to a purchase decision – then craft your story and experience around them. With that in mind, here’s how ABC Co. might change their tune:

“Wasting time in the kitchen, takes away from the time you could be spending doing what you love – being on a trail, hanging out with friends and family, reading a great book. With the right gizmo, you’d cut your meal prep time in half so you can do all of those things. With the gizmo widget from ABC Co. your time crunch problem is solved. Easy to use… yadda, yadda…”

In this version, it’s all about the customer. What’s important to them? Saving time. Doing what they love. Being with friends and family. We’ve shown that the gizmo from ABC Co. can get them all of those things. Nowhere are we stating how long we’ve been in business, anything about price, quality or service, or how brilliant the “C” level people at ABC Co. are. We don’t have to, because we’ve connected with our audience and stated our case in a far more effective way.

So look over your messaging and story telling. Do the We v. You test and be honest about it. If you fail, create the marketing personas that represent your customers and prospects and rewrite your story around them. You’ll see a big difference in business and how people react to your brand!

BONUS! Here’s a great infographic on what customers wish you knew about them: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/158681586847831330/