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Know Thy Audience: Tell Them What They Want to Know, Not What You Want Them to Hear


How much of it tells the story of the problem it solves?

Mindset. It’s one of those squishy words. We’re sure we know the meaning, but we hope that nobody ever asks us to define it. You can plow deep into the psychological aspects of what mindsets are and what they mean if you like, but mindsets are nothing more than beliefs. They are the collection of ideas upon which you base what’s acceptable. As a whole, they determine your likes and dislikes, as well as what you’re open to hearing – or completely ignore.

Marketers have learned the futility of attempting to get someone with an incongruous mindset to pay attention – let alone become a customer. While it’s remotely possible to change someone’s mind, it’s a challenge that seldom provides a return on the investment. It’s much easier to find and cultivate customers who already share your beliefs. 

Do you understand me? 

It’s a simple litmus test. Prospects begin their search for a product or service by first identifying a provider that’s capable of demonstrating that they understand the problem. If the universe of potential customers ever found a way to unite with a single voice, they might say something along the lines of:

Hello? I’m not even interested yet in hearing about your product. All I want from you right now is a demonstration that you get where I’m coming from. Stop telling me about your solution, and tell me about my problem. Prove to me you feel my pain. 

As a marketer with an active sales funnel, you have different kinds of content created to communicate different things to people at specific points as they move from prospect to customer to advocate. How deep is your first level of content? Do you have a sufficient amount of storytelling in place to snag the attention of prospects? 

Who’s chasing who?

You often think that you’re casting the net. You are, but at this point, your net doesn’t mean much. You want to end up in the prospect’s net. You want them to be pleased with their discovery. They might say something along the lines of:

Huzzah! I think I found a business that totally gets the problem I need to solve. They describe it to a T. It’s like they’re reading my mind!

You may end up spending a lot of money studying how customers actually use your product or service, but frankly, the investment in creating content that clearly demonstrates you understand a prospect’s pain point needs to come from your own heart and gut – not a research budget. 

Yes, it’s selfish. Prospects want you to prove that you really did experience the same frustration – or even pain – that they’re currently feeling. And for one specific reason. If you can’t prove you’ve been there too, why should a prospect believe your product or service can provide a solution?

It’s not time for that yet

Oh, the irony. You can have the perfect solution. It can be the best one out there. You should be selling bazillions of units of your product or service. 

But, it’s just sitting there.

The problem may not be what you think it is. While it’s possible that no one knows about it, it’s likely that no one cares about it. No one buys a product or service unless it provides a solution to a problem. 

Take a look at the content you’ve created to support your product or service. How much of it tells the story of the problem it solves? 

What your product or service does is what you want to talk about. It’s what you think is important. And ultimately, it is. Prospects don’t care what you think is important – at least not at this moment. Ultimately, they’ll want to feel how strongly you believe in your solution. First, though, they want proof that you understand their pain.