It’s not what you like that matters – you have to consider your customers.

Pete Goodrum. Writer, Broadcaster, Consultant.

It’s not what you like that matters – you have to consider your customers.


Pete Goodrum. Writer, Broadcaster, Consultant.


The part of the marketing process that’s concerned with conveying your message to potential customers is a constantly moveable feast.  Time was that it was easy and all- embracing to call it ‘advertising’. As the process became more complex we added extra labels, like ‘sales promotion’, and embraced ‘public relations’ into the marketing mix. ‘Marketing Communications Company’ became the new ‘Advertising Agency’ for a while, and then something unprecedented happened. Suddenly we had ‘Digital Agencies’.

This wasn’t inappropriate because the rise in importance of digital communications had called for the emergence of specialists. What was odd was that, for the first time, we were branding communications, or advertising, businesses by the medium in which they specialised. I can recall no ‘Newspaper Advertising Agency’, nor ‘TV Advertising Agency’.

The increase in choice of media available though was welcome, and has brought about advances and opportunities in promoting businesses and brands. But, was there a danger of ‘medium overtaking message’? Was there so much enthusiasm to use digital media that sometimes they were selected, and messages constructed for them, when they were perhaps not the sole, nor indeed best, medium to reach the target audience?

And that brings the argument to the fundamental point about advertising and marketing communications that has remained unchanged throughout the decades of evolving media choices. Identifying your target audience is crucial. Establishing the best medium, or media, to reach them is the next and equally important issue. And then, most importantly of all, create the message that, carried by those media, will enthuse and inspire that target audience to buy from you. Here’s the thing. That message must be appropriate to that audience. It must give them a reason to buy. And it must speak their language.

If that language is not yours, or the visual treatment of the advertising is not to your personal taste, it doesn’t matter. It’s what communicates best with your audience that counts.

Which is where the professional advertising practitioner comes in. The writer, the art director, the strategist; they know what’s needed to do the job.  You wouldn’t disagree with the electrician rewiring your house because you don’t like the colour of the wires, or the surgeon about to make you better because you think another procedure would be better. So why would you disagree with an advertising professional because you don’t like yellow, or sentences beginning with and. And that’s something that happens, every day.

It’s unlikely that an external advertising or marketing professional knows your product or service better than you do. But there’s a very real chance that you don’t know the techniques of promotion as well as them.

It’s simple really. When it comes to advertising, in all its forms and media, it’s not what you like that matters – you have to consider your customers.



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