Marketing Truth: People love themselves most of all

Mirror Here's the marketing truth.  People love themselves. And in the end, trite as it has become "what's in it for me" is a very accurate reflection of the consumer's mind set.

Mike Sigers over at Simplenomics wrote about a fascinating study.  One of the findings he sited was:

A study of college-aged women included this test: The women were given a pen and paper and asked to write anything they wanted.

460 of the 500 wrote their own name.


And yet, time after time, marketers trip over themselves on this truth.  Their efforts are almost insulting in an attempt to manipulate this attitude without actually understanding it at all.

Spike Jones writes at Brains on Fire about an Oakley campaign where the sun glasses manufacturer sent a 22-page booklet about their glasses and then asked the recipients to share the names of their friends who would also get the 22-page sales piece.  The reward?  An Oakley decal of course. Woo hoo.

What the Oakley example shows us is that marketers pretend to be thinking about the customer but they're really just looking in the mirror and hoping to see the customer's reflection in the background.

Not going to work, my friends.  We're going to actually have to look away from the mirror.

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5 comments on “Marketing Truth: People love themselves most of all

  1. MIke says:

    Thanks for the link leak Drew !

    I was already quite aware of this fact before I read those staggering numbers, but they really hammered it home.

    I’ll now be acutely aware of this when I’m writing sales copy of any kind.

    I just drove 312 miles today to look at the view from a piece of lake property that a guy wants me to write a campaign to sell and this post, as well as mine, gave me all I need, along with the pictures I took.

    Thanks again.

  2. Mike,

    I hope you’ll write about your lake project, so we can all see how you’ve decided to apply the learning in the posts.

    There’s nothing better than a real life case study!


  3. Lewis Green says:


    It never ceases to amaze me. Who are these marketers and where did they learn their craft? It is about them, not us. It’s old school, simple and straight-forward. For anyone who doesn’t get this, please find another profession.

    Am I hot? Yes, I am. Marketers who want to talk about their products ands services or their brand just don’t understand marketing or the importance of others.

  4. Lewis,

    I think it is natural for humans to be self-centered, be they the buyer or the seller. Everyone loves to talk about and think about themselves.

    I think it requires some mental gymnastics and discipline to stay focused on the other person. While it seems natural to us and we can’t fathom why others can’t see it — we have tons of evidence that proves that they do not.

    The good news is — that’s why we have jobs. The bad news is…most people out there (marketing pros and business owners) can’t seem to help but mess it up.


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