We Are Not Preaching to the Converted

As online marketers we should never forget that many of the people we are targeting (or marketing on behalf of) are not digital natives.

This basic fact was brought home to me at a recent dinner party, where my partner’s friends (who all have proper jobs) talked glibly about technology. One couple explained proudly why they had just purchased the highest specification iPads for their six and seven-year old children, candidly throwing around phrases like, “We’ve really got to get into it” and “It’s for school, it’s an investment in their future”. All the while, their kids spent the evening playing Angry Birds and mimicking Gangham Style on YouTube.

Nobody at the party had heard of the Raspberry Pi – which is a real shame because this would have been a real investment in their education.

But when the topic of Twitter came up in conversation and the general consensus was that it was pretty much a complete waste of time, I could no longer bite my tongue.

It’s been well documented that I personally believe Twitter is the most important thing to happen to the Internet since Google came along and saved us from Piccadilly Circus-type banner advertising-led search engines where relevancy often took a secondary place to spammed results. And I told them so.

Before I could get on my high horse, I could sense their eyes rolling at the geek (who had probably drunk too much red wine) and I let the conversation change into something more conventional.

Online Marketers Need to Speak the Same Language as their Customers

This dinner party conversation got me thinking. Why should I expect my guests to have the same passions as me?

Would a doctor laugh at my ignorance of the medical profession should I need their help? Or would they just get on with the job and make me feel as comfortable as possible?

I’ve heard countless online marketers laugh at the general lack of understanding their customers have of digital technology. Quite frankly this level of arrogance is unacceptable.

We are hired because we are experts who can bring value to our clients businesses (where they hold the expertise). Yes, we are privileged to work in such an exciting, rapidly evolving industry but without the expertise other people have in other industries, we’d all be unemployed. Treat them nicely.

John W. Hayes will be taking his Content Marketing Boot Camp to Manchester (UK) on June 4th, 2013. 

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