Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts

I was reading the book All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin, in which he discusses the approach to marketing that has been rapidly made into the norm for successful businesses – learning to tell a story. That is, a successful marketer will connect with their audience by telling them a story, which, as a side effect, results in the purchase of a particular product or service. They will not put any emphasis on the logical meris of their product, but on the emotional merits.

While I thought the book was quite good and made sense, it didn’t really hit home with me until I did a product demo for one of my clients. At the demo, I was showing their main salesman how he could present the product I had built for them to his prospective clients.

I made a first presentation in which I outlined the technical merits of the product, and how it satisfied all the needs of the client. I showed how it addressed both the needs and the wants of the prospective buyers. However, while the salesman listened patiently, he clearly could not use my presentation as the basis for his own sales pitch.

After a break in which we discussed other aspects to the product and project, I decided to present the pitch again, and this time, I presented on the basis of emotion.

I touched on the problems, the pains, the established feelings of existing products. I discussed the concerns, the wants of the eventual users. I talked about the people involved in the decision. Finally, I demonstrated the answer in the newly developed product.

I didn’t get involved in the facts (what are the margins, cost of distribution, market size, IP), because marketing doesn’t care about the facts, at least, not during the presentations. Marketing should be concerned with the story. If needed, the facts are available to back up the story, but it’s not part of the pitch.

How are you selling yourself and your products? Are you continuing to throw the facts at your prospective market, or are you connecting with your audience and telling them stories that happen to involve your product?