Steve and Pre

What's one marketing mistake that's easy to make but just as easy to avoid?

Assuming people care.

That may sound a bit harsh but it's not meant to be. Rarely will our target audiences be as emotionally invested in the products/services/organizations that we are working with every single day. It's very easy for us to become jaded to something we see every day. "Of course everyone is going to want this product. Why wouldn't they want to enter to win a free _________ for a year?"

Due to the amount of marketing messages we receive every day, we're all numb to caring in a way. Products and messages turn into noise. The stories that cut through the clutter give us a reason to care. They pique our interest so much because they're so different we're compelled to learn more.

Working in the nonprofit world for the last nine months, it's something that 's very easy to see. Most of the clients we work with at The DeMoss Group are trying to achieve some good. They exist to make the world better in their own way. However, our clients aren't the only organizations like that in the world. There are a LOT of nonprofit causes looking for support. Working intimately with just one or two groups makes us believe that it's the most worthwhile cause, even if we wouldn't come out and say it. It's what we're the most emotionally invested in.

The general public isn't as emotionally invested as we are in our own work. It's hard to see that but realizing it forces us to become better storytellers. Great storytellers give their audience a reason to listen.

This also applies to your career

Ever not get invited in on a project you want to be on? Or even one that you know you'd add a ton of value to but still get overlooked? The same principle applies.

We know our own skill sets better than anyone. Your boss and team aren't omniscient. Sometimes you have to speak up and say "hey I want in." Opportunity doesn't always provide us with an engraved invitation. 

Also, it may be a good opportunity to take a step back and evaluate why you weren't looped in. Have you done enough in your own work to show how valuable you would be to that project? Is there an obvious reason you should be part of it?

Have you given them a reason to care?

If not, give them one. Be proactive in answering the question "why me" for other people. It takes a lot of honest self-evaluation (one of the hardest things any person or organization can do) to answer it in a meaningful way. The results are almost always rewarding.

A great quote comes from the movie "Prefontaine." Track coach Bill Bowerman discovers a strength of Steve Prefontaine, that he'd succeed in the 3-mile. Pre is less than thrilled with this since all the glory is in the mile. He says "Bill, nobody cares about the three mile." Bowerman's response?

"Well, give them a reason to care."