People Don’t Care

There’s one assumption that I start every marketing campaign with: People don’t care.

Every communication must assume that customers, prospects, and other stakeholders — e.g. people — don’t care, and aren’t looking for a brand to communicate with them. Even with permission, most folks aren’t eagerly awaiting our next outreach. As communicators, it is our job to give them a reason to care.

Yet, self-centered drivel fills most corporate and nonprofit emails, blogs, social updates, etc. An inability to focus on the customer plagues brands through era and medium.

Companies can’t help themselves.

They create a game of messaging tic-tac-toe to satisfy an innate need for their work to be important. It’s important to executives and marketers because that’s how they spend 50 hours of their week together, building something every week, month and year.

Meanwhile, the customer turns to the brand for an answer, a resolution to an issue, perhaps a special something to make life better. And that’s where it begins and ends, with the customer and their decision to buy or not to buy.

So when marketers bore them to death with messaging and facts about why x is important, we actually turn people away. Because we have not delivered an answer or something special.

Where is the utility? How is it entertaining? Why should anyone not employed by the company care?

Native advertising is such a big craze these day because brands have to pay-to-play. They have no choice because their communications bore just about anyone who reads them. The attempts to make them social have failed outside of core evangelist communities.

This continuing failure forces me to conclude that a vast majority of customers, prospects and donors just don’t care about brands. We haven’t given them a good reason to invest in us.

Everything created for them has to focus on giving them reasons to become interested. Communications have to revolve around the customer’s core motivations and needs. Otherwise you create messages that serve as lukewarm rallying points to keep employees and vendors motivated rather than true marketing touches.

What do you think? Do people care about marketing content and messages?

Image by Ida Stalder


  • Nope. People generally don’t care. Why? Because the marketeers find their way into pretty much every facet of our lives. It’s the point where the media – any media – is only created as a means to sell advertising. And, as soon as we find a way to block the shills from our lives, they find clever new ways to get back in.

    Products and services truly worth owning sell themselves. It’s called word of mouth. So few offerings these days are in any way remarkable, it’s always a question of how to interrupt and trick our neighbors into trying it.

    • It’s hard to stand out, that’s the problem with marketing. It takes guts, and few are willing to take the risk. They’d rather intrude.

      • I have to ask the question, then, why is it hard to stand out?

        Is it because the message/delivery is more of the same?
        Or because the product/service is more of the same?

        That’s the problem with business. It takes guts, and few are willing to take the risk. They’d rather intrude. ;)

  • I agree, I don’t think they do care.

    I heard something yesterday from Dennis Yu, who said posts (on FB) need to be emotional. It is emotion that gets people to share, not data.

    I love data. Seriously!!! If I had a child, I wouldn’t love it as much as I love data…or bacon…but I digress. The point is that the more I thought about it, the more I realized Dennis was right, I tend to share things that connect with me emotionally.

    It is the emotion that makes them care.

    • Yes, tons of studies showing this with donations, actually. No one donates when you statistically validate your cause. Show a touching story from a beneficiary, and well, the story changes dramatically.

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  • Love this one – it is true and I think because like Brian mentioned we are bombarded with messages all the time. Something has to be really unique to stand out today.

    • Yes, otherwise it’s more of the same old, same old. Which we want only when we are in the market for the same old, same old. Otherwise, let’s skip the commercials!

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  • Hey Geoff,

    People really don’t give a dam! At least I don’t LOL… we are all selfish and if your marketing doesn’t revolve around your customers selfishness, then they pretty much don’t want to hear about what you said. You made this statement here at the end of this post! So I totally agree!

  • Not unless we solve a problem, entertain them, please them and fit within the stories of their lives. The cost of attention gets higher every day (or rather every minute of every day), so yes — self-centered marketing content and messages are a waste of time and money.

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