By Roy H. Williams
“I’m a surfer,” she said as she extended her hand.
It almost broke my heart.
Her husband had moved her into a tiny fixer-upper on the tear-stained cheek of an Oklahoma town. With a young child dangling from each of her arms and a third one on the way, she needed us to see her as she had been.
“I’m a surfer.”
Please understand that in my heart I’m reckless and free under an open sky. Please. I need this.
“I’m Roy and this is my wife, Pennie. Welcome to the neighborhood.”
Show me what a person admires, and I’ll tell you everything about them that matters.
And then you’ll know how to connect with them.
You’ll know how to cheer up your new neighbor when you understand what she admires.
You’ll know how to sell the man looking into your face when you understand what he admires.
You’ll know how to attract future customers through your ads when you understand what they admire.
Have you ever peeked into the childish dreams of the people who would buy from you? If so, you’ve got the essence of a powerful, persona-based ad campaign. But never assume you can learn of your customer’s dreams by asking.
Dreams are hidden in dark closets of the heart because our truest motives often embarrass us. So we craft logical, comfortable lies to justify what our childlike hearts have chosen. And then we tell these lies and believe we’re telling the truth:
“I bought it for the gas mileage.”
The prestige of owning a new car had nothing to do with it?
“I read it for the articles.”
You’ve never noticed the photos of the naked girls?
“I’m only doing this job until something better comes along.”
It scares you to believe this is as good as it gets?
Learn the common hungers of your customers and you’ll know the words to use in your ads.
“Freedom” is a magnetic word to a person who is feeling trapped.
“Familiar” is a comforting word to a person who feels life is spinning out of control.
“Defiant” is an attractive word to a person who’s angry.
“Together” is a magical word to a person who feels alone.
“Meaningful” is a powerful word to a person feeling empty.
All of us are broken a little. And the most badly broken are those who feel they are not.
I’m always hesitant to pull back the curtain and show you the realities of effective marketing. Robert Louis Stevenson said it best:
“There is nothing more disenchanting to man than to be shown the springs and mechanism of any art. All our arts and occupations lie wholly on the surface; it is on the surface that we perceive their beauty, fitness, and significance; and to pry below is to be appalled by their emptiness and shocked by the coarseness of the strings and pulleys.”
I think that’s all I’m going to say today.