by Tom Ruwitch
Remember that movie in which Mel Gibson is a male chauvinist pig who magically acquires the superpower to “hear” women’s thoughts?
I just heard a real-life version of that story.
Both the real-life and Hollywood versions reveal a ton about marketing.
The real-life story features a marketing guy who, like Gibson’s character, has a bad reputation with lots of women. He positions himself as a “guy’s guy.” He doesn’t pull punches. And lots of women don’t like it. That doesn’t bother him a bit.
Then the copywriter was hired to write ads for a weight-loss product targeting women.
The guy knew he couldn’t write in his guy’s-guy voice to sell to this market, and he knew it would be difficult for him to simply adopt the voice of his target market.
So here’s what he did…
He began to hang out in public forums on social media where his target market resides. He spent a lot of time in one forum called 3FatChicks.com (their name, not his), which is a real place and is well-loved by the women who gather there.
Anyhow, he simply hung out and he listened. Over time, he picked up countless stories from the women about what they want and what they dread. And he heard lots of stories.
Those were the stories he weaved into the copy he wrote for the product.
And he sold that weight loss product like crazy.
If you remember that movie, “What a Girl Wants,” you’ll recall that Mel Gibson did the same thing. He “listened” to what women were thinking, what they wanted, what they dreaded, and he used that information to write an advertising pitch that landed the big prospect.
I’m not suggesting you magically weasel your way inside women’s heads.
I’m suggesting that you watch and listen and learn. Go hang out where your prospects gather -- on public websites, social media, in letters-to-the-editor sections of their favorite publications. Listen to the podcasts they love. Visits the websites they visit…
...And you’ll hear their stories. You’ll discover what they want. You’ll discover what they dread.
If you have a product or service that can give them what they want or protect them from what they dread, you’ll have everything you need to craft stories that sell…
...Because the star of your business story is not the product or services you sell. The star of your business story is not you. The star of your business story is your prospect or customer. The best business stories reflect what they want or what they dread.
If Guy’s-Guy placed himself at the center of the business story, his ads would have flopped. Those gals don’t like him. But he knew better.
As the copywriter wrapped up his “What A Girl Wants” story, he quoted the great copywriter David Garfinkel who once said, “It’s not the problem that matters. It’s how the market describes the problem.”
Same goes for the dream.
If you remember that, if you figure out ways to discover how the market describes the problem -- and the dream -- you’ll be a better marketer, and you’ll sell more.
Tom Ruwitch is the founder and former CEO of MarketVolt which he founded in 2001 and which was acquired by Benchmark Email in January. In February, Tom now runs Story Power Marketing which helps businesses power up their stories so prospects tune in, stay tuned, and take action. More information at StoryPowerMarketing.com.