It was one of those late nights when I couldn’t sleep and was channel surfing. I came across a Bravo marathon of Top Chef. I’d never watched the program before, and am NOT a fan of reality TV. But I was immediately hooked. I watched 4 episodes in a row.
What really interested me was the last episode – where I found a classic example of clashes of male/female communication style and clashes of personality type.
A team of 4 lost a challenge. They were up on the chopping block (no pun intended). The team leader, Elia was in the hot seat. The judges were about to make their decision as to who would go home – from what it looked like they were saying, it might have been the team leader Elia. But Mia jumped in and said to send her home, instead. She said Elia had more talent in her little finger than anyone else on the show.
The male judge’s reaction was – "I’ve never thought of you as a quitter." "I can’t believe you’re just giving up like this." And he sent Mia home.
I know these shows are edited and produced to provide maximum tension. They may have manipulated what the male judge meant – but what blew me away was – how could this judge accuse Mia of quitting? In my book – she won. She was about the only chef who showed any integrity. Her values were more important to her than winning the show. Boy did I respect that.
But from the male judge’s point of view – this is a competition. Yeah it gets tough. You fight and fight hard. Offering to go home is quitting. You are a loser.
So which point of view is right? They both are. From a male and a competitive point of view – Mia quit and lost. This is an every chef for himself competition. From a female and humanistic point of view – Mia fought for her integrity and won. She bonded with a fellow chef and put that person’s needs above her own.
Where am I going with all this? As marketers, it is almost impossible for us not to bring our own bias, our own preferences, our own point of view to the advertising we create.
I’ve always said that the further you are from your target audience, the harder you’re going to have to work to get outside of your head and into theirs.
Think it’s easy? It’s not. I’ve been at this for 20 years. My specialty is understanding my audience. Yet I still bring my own bias to the table. The only difference between now and when I started is – I am much more aware of that bias, but it is still there.
I am convinced the reason so much advertising fails is because the creators "liked it" but the target audience didn’t.
So what can you do to be more successful? Two things…
One – understand your Meyers Briggs personality type. Understand the difference in male and female communication style. If you have a reaction to something – dig deeper into your subconscious to try to understand why you are having that reaction. The more you understand your own bias – the more you can keep it from sabotaging your marketing efforts.
Two – understand how to put yourself into another person’s mindset – even if that person is the complete opposite of yourself. How do you do that? Join me January 9th and 10th in Brooklyn, NY for Persuasive Online Copywriting. The talented Lisa T. Davis (co-author of the best-selling Waiting for Your Cat to Bark) will be teaching the course with me.
NOTE – this is not just a course for copywriters. It’s a course about truly understanding who your customers are and how to communicate with them.
Hope to see you there.