by Paula on June 1, 2012

I’m always prompted to write a blog when I see and hear things happening around me that seem to have a common thread. I want to tell you about a number of things I’ve observed over the last few weeks but all that have a common link: people looking at things through their eyes rather than thinking like their customers.

Yellow Pages

There is an advert being played out on local radio at the moment for Yellow Pages. The theme of the ad is “Where do you look if you need a plumber? Where does your plumber look if he needs a Solicitor? Where does your Solicitor look if he needs a gardener?” The summing up of the ad is that “They all look where you look, Yellow Pages”.

Personally I never look in Yellow Pages. I buy services based on recommendation and I get these recommendations from friends, family and Twitter contacts. But, me advising you that you must therefore advertise on Twitter is as incorrect as Yellow Pages suggesting everyone looks there. The important thing is not what you do, but what the people you want to buy your product or service do. Do your research, find out…and then direct your time and attention there.

Death by Powerpoint

Despite the comedy surrounding Death by Powerpoint there are still those that are reluctant to move away from the old habits. Why do they do it? Because it’s what they know and are comfortable with. I have two examples relating to this:

  • I attended a seminar this week and one of the speakers was a marketing professional who talked to the audience about basic marketing techniques. He started by slating presentations that are Death by Powerpoint and then proceeded to show 15+ slides all with no images, bullet-pointed sentences, which he read out one by one. The audience of business owners read the slides within 5 seconds of them being up and had no interest in the 5 minutes it took to read through each slide and add nothing additional to the words being shown for us to read.
  • I was asked to do a talk on Social Media for business. The person in charge of the event emailed me 3 weeks prior to ask “Please could you send over your Powerpoint Slides in advance so that I can know exactly what you are going to talk about”. I replied saying that of course I could send them over but my photo of a decked garden, a spade and rake, and a woman reclining on a sofa with a laptop and a glass of wine would probably not fulfil the need to know what I was going to say! It took a lot of effort and reassuring to achieve acceptance that I might not have bullet pointed slides that I would read out. (It went really well by the way and I hope I have managed to open one new person’s eyes to the value of doing things differently!)
In both cases there was a desire to do things the way they like to do things rather than put yourself in an audiences shoes and think about what is more interesting and fun for them. The term Death by Powerpoint was coined with reason. Think of who you’re talking to and try and meet their needs rather than yours.


At the very same marketing seminar, the speaker told the audience that “all businesses need to be on Facebook these days”. How wrong! Facebook is appropriate for some businesses but it is this bad advice that is causing businesses to set up accounts, have no idea what to do with them and then leave them unloved and unused. It would be very easy for me to find a company’s Facebook page before their website if I searched for them there, and if I see it neglected I may assume they’re not in business any more and not bother taking that further step to finding the lovingly built website. Make sure that you take proper advice, target your on-line efforts appropriately to your audience and show regular commitment to the goals you set yourself.

Some people are very intuitive, they naturally see things as others might see them and have great insight into how people will react and how to bring the best out of them. To others this takes work, but when you’re talking about your time, your money and the success of your business, putting that work in to ensure you are saying the right things to the right people in the right place is an investment well made.



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