You Can’t Handle The Truth
Mar 26 2009

Brian Clark at Copyblogger did a post recently called How to Tell the Truth that was just spot on.  I LOVED it because it is so true.  It’s a short post and I was trying to think about how to summarize it, but I just can’t because it’s so perfect.  So I hope Brian doesn’t get upset with me for quoting it verbatim here:

“Everyone wants the truth, right?

Ask your spouse or your boss or your employees or your customers… they’ll tell you all they want is the truth.

But that’s a lie.

We hate the truth. Our reaction to real truth is hostility and fear.

Do we really want to hear the truth about why we’re fat, or why we’re broke, or why our kids are under-achieving? Tough stuff to process for most.

And yet telling the simple raw truth is one of the most effective attention and persuasion tactics available. Especially these days, with people sick to death of being lied to and betrayed.

But if people reject what you say, truth or not, you’re back where you started.

Guys like Buddha and Jesus had this problem.

The solution remains the same.

Tell a story.”

I sent the post to my friend, Robb Lanum (a screen writer), and he liked it too and added “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

My big problem is that I have a tendency to tell the truth good or bad, and I don’t always have a great story behind it.  It usually turns out great if the truth is good (e.g., our product is awesome and will save your life, you look great, you did a fabulous job) but if the truth is not so good (e.g., our product is good but you need to have xyz to make it work, I screwed up, you screwed up) it’s hard to recover.  Sometimes I wish I could keep my mouth shut but fear, Southern Baptist guilt, and feeling like I should do and say the right thing (because I would want to hear the truth) usually overcome me.  A strong conscience sucks to deal with sometimes, but I selfishly hope my kids inherit it without having to feel the hell, fire, and brimstone in their minds!

This is probably one of the reasons why I’ll never be a great classical marketer.  As Seth Godin recently wrote in a post called Is Marketing Evil?, the best marketers know how to create a great story about their companies and products and then they know how to get it out to the universe (usually with a reasonable budget!).  He ends the post with:

“Just because you can market something doesn’t mean you should. You’ve got the power, so you’re responsible, regardless of what your boss tells you to do.

The good news is that I’m not in charge of what’s evil and what’s not. You, your customers and their neighbors are. The even better news is that ethical, public marketing will eventually defeat the kind that depends on the shadows. Just ask Bernie Madoff.”

So ‘eventually‘ with any luck my tendency to tell the truth will keep me out of jail.  Now I just have to learn how to spin a fairytale captivating story!  Here’s a video clip of “A Few Good Men” starring Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson that shows how most people can’t handle the truth…most notably the one (Jack) telling the truth:

Author: | Filed under: marketing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why I Don’t Want A Monster In My Pants – Target Marketing
Dec 8 2007

Yes, I know it’s a great post title but sadly I did not come up with it.  Naomi at IttyBiz did and I’m borrowing it because in that post she did a mini ‘who is your customer’ marketing case study on Babble Soft called Identifying Your Target Market, Or Why I Don’t Want A Monster In My Pants

Since I have been overcome with software testing, deciding on a full-service SEO firm, addressing Holiday cards, doing the company books, staring into space, and looking for other people who will help me for free, for reduced fees, for a free lunch, with all of the other stuff I need help with, I did not notice until a few days later when I checked her blog that she mentioned Babble Soft.  Oh and yeah, she didn’t link to my blog so I didn’t realize she was writing about me.  🙂

Here is her off-the-cuff list of potential markets for Babble Soft:

Babble Soft has two groups of people to which they can market, parents and non-parents. To save space, we’ll just talk about parents here. In the parent category, we have:

– Mothers who are anal retentive.

– Fathers who dig all the latest technology.

– Parents who live in the US and are subject to the BULLSHIT PARENTAL LEAVE laws, forcing them to go back to work too early.

– Parents of multiples.

– Parents who work opposite shifts.

– Parents with older kids, especially those with high needs.

– Mothers with post-partum depression. (When you’re depressed, you need someone to think for you.)

That’s off the top of my head. If Babble Soft were to specifically target any one of these groups and market to them appropriately, she’d have more customers than she’d know what to do with. That’s not even getting into potential baby shower gifts, gifts from distant grandparents, gifts from nagging grandparents, gifts from over involved grandparents, etc.

Nothing surprising there and they all make sense to me.  I made the comment on her blog that even if you aren’t depressed but you are sleep deprived (probably the same thing) and you can’t stand your spouse, you need someone to think for you. 😉

The challenge as an entrepreneur is how to do that with extremely limited resources and no budget.  Anybody invented effective cloning technology yet? 

I haven’t done any formal Internet marketing to date, but I’m biting a big financial bullet next week and that will soon be changing.  We’ve done some PR (press releasestraditional media stories) but no one at the big publications like Parenting, Pregnancy Magazine, Parents, etc. will give us the time of day because [fill in the blank.].  I can’t afford to pay $15K+ to advertise on sites like that or on the granddaddymammy of baby sites babycenter.

Since this dilemma is just one of the reasons why entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart or the sane, I guess I’ll go see about answering Shane and Peter’s Interviewing You: The Entrepreneur post this pleasant, unusually warm December Saturday afternoon while my daughter and husband nap and my son works on a Transformer puzzle on the floor next to me…

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, entrepreneurship, working mother | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »