Navel-Gazing Marketing: Where did it all go wrong?

Far too much marketing is created by marketers, for marketers. Don't make the same mistakes.

“We become so self-absorbed in what we’re doing, we lose sight of why we’re doing it. Worst still, we lose sight of who we’re creating it for.”

There are times we as marketers get it wrong. Very wrong.

The funny thing is it all starts well.

We’ve got the brief. We’re clear on the audience. We’ve even got a good sense of what they care about. But then something gets lost along the way.

Somewhere in the act of creating we indulge ourselves.

We become so self-absorbed in what we’re doing, we lose sight of why we’re doing it. Worst still, we lose sight of who we’re creating it for.

So we end up developing campaigns, content and experiences that assume too much and expect far too much of our audience. They become all about us – all about showing off – nausea inducing, navel-gazing marketing.

We mistakenly think our audiences are all ears, waiting with bated breath to hear what we have to say.

We think, it’s only natural, they’ll head over to our place online – and spend a good half hour enjoying our immersive content and watching every single one of our videos right through to the end.

We think, of course, they’ll be quite happy to furnish us with the intimate details of their current career status, inside leg measurements and purchasing plans. Why ever not?

The fact is the world has changed. The days of navel-gazing marketing are long gone or should be. If you still think you’ve got the luxury of your buyers’ attention, wake up – you need to earn it.

Don’t think your audiences are out there waiting eagerly for your next campaign to reach them. The reality is they’re not.

7 ways to quash the navel-gazing

One
Don’t assume you know your audience – go and speak to them – as many of them as possible. Find out what they really care about and never lose sight of that.

Two
Assume the last thing they want to do is read what you have to say. Then assume that if they will read it, they’ll skim read it. Then assume if they might skim read it, they might actually read a few of the words in between. If you’re lucky.

Three
Overcome the urge to cram just another message in – to make just another point. Strip it back. Then strip it back again. Just enough to deliver what you need to say, not too much that you’re demanding too much of their time. Edit yourself and then some.

Four
Don’t use language in your communications you wouldn’t feel comfortable standing up in a room in front of those people and saying. Forget the marketing hyperbole – tell it to them straight in their language, this time with meaning.

Five
However many amendment cycles you go through before going live, still be ruthless. If you’re bored with what you’ve created, chances are your audience will be too. And you’re never going to bore them into giving you their business. I’ve tried that and failed too many times.

Six
Don’t let form overtake function. Don’t mistake innovative use of technology as a sure fire way to captivate your audience. There may be a novelty factor but if the user experience is poor, all your innovation will be meaningless.

Seven
Aim for great outputs but aim for even greater outcomes. That’s how to really judge the success of what you’re doing. I’m not advocating marketing full of compromise – but marketing full of rigour.

Anyway, you knew this. I know this. But we still make the same mistakes from time to time. Perhaps one day we’ll learn.