Is your marketing material all about you?

I learnt a valuable lesson about marketing once which fundamentally changed the way I view the composition of marketing material for my businesses. This was the lesson: It’s not about me/my business, it’s about the needs of my prospective clients. Sounds simple doesn’t it, but it’s all to easy to talk about yourself when putting together this material. I challenge you to look at your own material now (yes this minute – go and grab it) with a subjective head on and consider how it would read to someone you want as a client. Have you told them how great you are? Have you told them how much experience you have, how many years you’ve been in business and the fact that you’re one of the best in your area at what you do? Is this the main message? Guess what? Your prospective clients don’t care. They have their own issues, their own challenges and their own needs to satisfy. They don’t care if you’ve got over 50 years combined experience in your market, they probably don’t care if you are the number one company offering XYZ in your area! These maybe useful to know and perhaps you should have these as after thoughts but they shouldn’t be your main message. What you actually need to do is define the audience you’re trying to reach, why they might need to buy what you offer and then heres the clincher – solve their problem for them (or at least tell them that you can solve it somehow).

When you start thinking about marketing like this, it requires a different style of thinking, a different outlook on the production of this important material. In my opinion there are far too many companies out there simply ticking a ‘marketing box’. They produce some material saying how great they are, they send it out either electronically or via snail mail and then saying ‘Yeah good job guys, that’s the marketing bit done’. They then wonder why they are not getting results and why the phone is not ringing off the hook. Next time you’re putting together something which is marketing your business, try and think of how it will be viewed in terms of the buyer. If you’re like me then I’m sure that everyday you gets lots of letters, glossy flyers and brochures across your desk – how many of these end up in filing cabinet Z (The bin)? A large proportion I’ll wager? Now think about what made you pull that one thing aside to actually spend some time looking at? I bet it added value for you in some way, or helped towards, or claimed to be able to solve a problem you have? The success in direct mail and e-marketing can be quite low so you need to make sure you make it work for you. It can be expensive after all. If you’re looking for inspiration then I can thoroughly recommend signing upto the Glazer Kennedy Insiders Circle. These guys are legends at preparing marketing material which really works. You can also check them out on their Facebook page or follow Mara Glazer on Twitter. You won’t be dissapointed.

One last tip – Not all of us are or ever will be marketers so when you produce drafts for your next brochure of sales flyer, try sending it out to friends and colleagues who could be potential buyers and ask theem to be as constructive as possible. Be prepared to have it ripped apart and get ready for the critiscm – Don’t get defensive if its not what you want to hear – after all you don’t want to send out something that’s going to get you nowhere do you? The end result will be a more successful campaign and hopefully better conversions into real business.

Most importantantly – Have Fun 🙂


  1. Scott Gould on 5th February 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Hey Al

    Very good point – one that to be honest, I still struggle with delivering on!

    I have to force myself, every day, to think “how does this matter to the people’s lives who I am doing this for?”

    • Banksy on 5th February 2010 at 2:07 pm

      Thanks Scott – it’s so easy to slip into the ‘I’m great model’!!!

  2. Jonathan on 5th February 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Al – It’s a great point. Fortunately someone pointed it out to me about 18 months ago, but it is a bit of a shock when you realise what you’ve been saying was all ‘me, me, me’!

    We work really hard with out clients now, to help them build customer-focused brands. The key is helping them to communicate the BENEFIT to the customer, not the product or service they deliver.

    • Banksy on 7th February 2010 at 11:43 pm

      Top man Jon – I know your company is definately helping lots of businesses realise this fact and doing an excellent job in it.

  3. Julian Summerhayes on 5th February 2010 at 9:50 pm

    This is a good point to make and I am sure for the service sector it is vitally important. I think what has been lost is a sense of identity of a lot of businesses. My area of work (law) has become more crowded and there is very big temptation to think that more is better and to adopt a scatter-gun approach to marketing. I have a very simple mission statement that I live and breathe (which is borrowed from an old Japanese proverb): “Identify and Satisfy”. Identify the need and satisfy it in a very clear and focused way. This mantra is applicable in almost any sphere of business. The important thing also is to engage with the client and truly seek to understand their business culture and not think sell, sell all the time. Messaging is key – if you want to be part of the also-rans then bland material is going to reinforce the perception about your business. Think smart and try something innovative and creative – Video, photos or client recommendations.

    • Banksy on 7th February 2010 at 11:45 pm

      Thanks Julian and welcome to my blog comments 🙂 Have you had a chance to look over any of the other posts I’ve made in the Marketing heading? I think you’ll like a few of them 🙂 Its certainly refreshing to hear your views – there are not enough people out there who view business as you do. I hope we get the chance to meet soon 🙂

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