Since I try to write a little something each weekday, you might have noticed that I burn through a lot of topics. One thing I do is to clip articles that provoke a thought (although frankly I’d like it if you guys would send me more topic suggestions – hint hint).
A story I clipped back in December had to do with the release of a study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press about how much of a factual grasp we all have of basic facts with respect to current events. Let’s see if your reaction is the same as mine.
This is an ongoing study and if you’d like to take the current test you can find it here (I missed two questions). Some general things found in the December study were that young people struggle with many questions about politics, economics and foreign affairs, college graduates did much better on average than those with some or no college experience, and the public knows basic facts about politics and economics, but struggles with specifics. It’s this last point that I think relates to business as well.
Rather than beating consumers over the head with loud “BUY ME” messages, what marketers should be doing is helping customers and potential customers understand specific facts about their products and services. If you think news is the only area where people struggle with in-depth understanding, you’re mistaken. I don’t know if it’s new media ADD, the fact that we all seem to be too busy or something else, but some of the same things that precipitate the superficial knowledge folks have can also serve to let them drill down for a better understanding. The key is to establish the relationship on the customer’s terms, gently make them aware that there may be more to your product than they’re aware (and this should be less of a gentle reminder when there are misunderstandings out there which need correcting) and then be ready to respond when they seek more information though whatever channel is preferred by them.
Inquiring minds may want to know but they don’t seem to have the time to find out. It’s worse if your target is young and your product isn’t “sexy.” How are you resolving the dilemma?