‘I’ve had an epiphany!’
My architect friend Mel was getting pretty excited when we met for a coffee last week.
‘I’ve realised that most architects – including me – build their websites to impress other architects, not their paying customers. We’ve been doing it all wrong!’
I had a quick Google and she was damn right – there were pictures of cavernous glass boxes and towering spiral staircases on almost every architect’s site I came across.
Great if their clients were Russian oligarchs with 15-bedroom Kensington mansions (‘Budget?’ ‘Nyet!’).
Not so great if, as many of them were, aiming at families with a 3-bed semi in the ‘burbs and a couple of grand to spend.
I wasn’t impressed.
But it’s a tempting trap to fall in to – trying to impress our peers instead of our clients.
I see it a lot in fact.
….Coaches wanging on out their qualifications (that only other coaches give a monkey’s about)
….Lawyers using stiff, scholarly language in their marketing materials (that only other lawyers can read without wanting to bleach their eyeballs)
….Techies listing the intricate details of their platforms (that no-one but the techiest of techies understands)
….Accountants going to endless conferences where all the attendees are…yes, you’ve guessed it, other accountants
….Consultants listing every single achievement on their LinkedIn profile right back to their ‘A’ grade for their Geography GCSE
Now that’s fine of course if you’re selling to your peers (as some businesses do) or need to collaborate with them on a regular basis. Or if you really enjoy basking in the warm glow radiating from their seething envy.
But, for most of us, our peers aren’t the ones paying our bills.
And so they aren’t the ones we should be focusing our energy or our marketing on.
Our clients or stakeholders need to be the primary focus of our marketing.
Staying within the cosy confines of our peer group might feel safe, but – if we want to be seen, get our message across, grow our profiles or our business – it’s actually the risky option.
So it’s worthwhile taking a step back every now and then and asking yourself these three things:
- Who do I really need to impress?
- Is my current branding and marketing going to bring me closer to them (or just to my peers)?
- What, if anything, do I need to change?
Go on, try it. Impress me!