Think like a prospect. Tell a great story. An interview with Native Tongue author, David L. Goet
How do you position your cause or service in a way that says what you do but also connects with the person you want to reach? In Native Tongue: Translating Your Message into the Language of Prospects, marketing strategy consultant David L. Goetz makes the simple point that prospects don’t speak the language of the organizations trying to market to them. Goetz argues that the only “language” that a customer understands is her experience of you— what he calls the Truth.
- So, what is the Truth?
David Goetz: The Truth is simply how you are currently perceived by your clients or constituents. And more specifically—by your most recent clients or constituents. They perceive your cause or service as it currently is. The hard question is this: Is the current perception the one that you really want to portray? If not, you have some work to do.
- How do you counsel organizations to make peace with their Truth?
We all tend to see ourselves through the filter of what we want to believe. So if you want to know how you are currently perceived, simply begin a conversation with customers. Ask them.
- Will clients really tell you the Truth? They will, but you have to listen closely. You also need to be able to read between the lines. You look for the raised eyebrow, what they don’t say, their body language, and, of course, what they actually say—your quantitative and qualitative research.
- What results from ignoring the Truth?
The ultimate—and obvious—result is poor traction in your marketing efforts. If you are saying you are something that is not true or that is too similar to a competitor, then your messaging won’t connect with your prospects.
- Can you provide an example?
Take, for instance, a small professional consulting firm competing with a large consulting firm, like McKinsey. If the smaller firm trumpets that it “delivers results” and that they are a leader in consulting, when in fact, they are obviously not, they train prospects to ignore them. Instead they should focus on their specialty—what makes them unique.
So often how an organization describes itself on its web site or in its advertising is ego-driven. Chest-thumping, as I call it, is so drearily predictable and so totally ignorable. Who cares? Only the firm doing the chest-thumping.
- What led you to write this book?
Through the years, I’ve had come to terms with the limits of marketing. Marketing cannot improve on an average service or cause. In that sense, marketing can only do so much for an organization. If the cause itself isn’t unique or special, then more marketing isn’t the answer. However, when you are truly doing something unique—your Truth—then aligning your messaging is easy. It’s simply about focusing on what you uniquely provide to the market. That’s how you grow.
- None of this is new.
No, it really isn’t. Native Tongue is a primer on messaging strategy, with questions at the end of each chapter. The book can be read in thirty minutes. The point is to stir up a conversation with your senior team about your focus as an organization and to align your messaging with your larger organizational strategy.
To learn more about David or his book, contact us today.