Abuse your friends and family

Marketing input on the Cheap

Are you working on a new campaign, web site or product offering? This is a great time to use your friends and family. I’m sure you’ve done things for them in the past – bought a round for your friends, watched your sister’s brats so she and Billy could go out to a movie, ordered pizza when Mom blew up the turkey on Thanksgiving – the point is, they owe you. And now is a good time for payback.

When you spend day-after-day in your company, at your desk, talking with many of the same people, you tend to get “group-think.” What appears obvious to you isn’t to the normal human being. So what you need is to step out of your normal environment and get a better understanding of the “real” world and how they interpret your messaging.

One way to do this is to do testing. A typical example is crafting two different email messages, subject lines, etc. and sending them to two subsets of your database. Useful and worthwhile but hard to do every time, especially when time is critical. This is where family and friend abuse becomes useful.

I’ve leveraged these relationships many times to help me by reviewing web content, direct mailers, etc. They probably aren’t the best for reviewing deep content like a technical whitepaper but can provide really good feedback on many other items. And they are free!

So when you are designing new web pages, a direct mailer, an email blast, print or banner ads, video content or other similar items, think about using family and friends for review. They may not be your target audience but they can provide useful input on design appeal, imaging and wording, navigation and more. Questions to ask them include:

  • Does this ad catch your eye?
  • Would you look at this postcard?
  • Would you open this letter? 
  • Tell me what you think about this web page (probe for eye-catching items, intuitive navigation, easy-to-read and understand text)

The idea is that, even if your target is a CIO audience, the first cut appeal is common among most people. Interest and motivation often starts in similar ways. So this really is seeing if your bait is attractive enough to get the hook in the mouth. After that, it’s up to you to reel them in and your family and friends may not be able to help. But for curb appeal, they are a useful and CHEAP resource!


1 comment so far

  1. […] consultant and barroom wingman, Greg Donahue, takes a moment this week to remember the value of family and friends – especially when you need to break out of corporate group think and test the efficacy of your […]

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