Who do you want to speak to?

I get upset when my teenage daughter demonstrates what I refer to as “advantageous-interpretation-disorder”…a condition that causes questions take on whatever meaning is easiest to answer. I ask, “Do you have any homework?” My daughter hears, “Do you have any homework you can’t finish during lunch tomorrow?” and with a brief look up from her phone replies, “Uhhh, no.”

Turns out business people have a similar condition when it comes to message development. I ask, “Who do you want to speak to?” They hear, “Who is your target market?” and respond with information like gender, age, income, marital status, or maybe a string of job titles, positions, and descriptions.

Marketing & demographic data are important. But when we focus only on facts, we lose sight of feelings. We gain information about markets we want to capture, but miss the emotions of the individuals with whom we’re trying to connect.  And in a time when people are drowning in information, it is the emotional insight that reaches them and makes them want to reach back.

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