How come no one wants to speak to the customer BEFORE they do marketing?

Seth Godin, marketing guru, in a recent blog talks about the three circles of marketing radiating outward:

1. The outer circle: Take the information about the product that is given you and promote the hell out of it.
2. The middle circle, which has more much more leverage: Tell a story that resonates with a particular tribe.
3. The third, innermost, circle is the story about the product itself: The product you are selling has the communication built into itself.
He summarizes his insights saying go one circle in, or to the middle circle, if you are having trouble selling/marketing the product.

This is all well and good advice. HOWEVER, even the great Seth Godin leaves out one crucial element – and a lot of people do this. No one thinks to ask what the customer wants. No one gets feedback from the customer BEFORE they market. This is so simple and very few people talk about it much less do it. And if they (you, we) did it, we wouldn’t have to worry about circles – actually that would be the fourth and innermost circle. I don’t know what the aversion is to speaking to your customers directly before you prepare marketing materials. Every time we do this for ourselves or a client, the marketing is so much more targeted and successful. How do I know this? The ROI measurements are exponentially higher than ever before (before the marketing and after previous marketing exercises).

The entire Seth Godin post is below.


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

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