Bob's Blog

You Looking For Me?

I'm a fan of Douglas Adams. And it strikes me that one of his creations - Dirk Gently - has a good alternative to map reading that translates well to the Internet. The concept, Zen navigation, involves following someone who looks like they know where they're going. However, it's the comment on the final destination which works particularly for the Web: "I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere that I needed to be."

I find that my Internet searches often end up just like that. I'm searching for one thing and find something else that's really interesting along the way. So how can this insight be applied to marketing? Well it requires a bit of imagination.

Don't be blinkered about the description of your product. You are undoubtedly the expert on it and can describe everything about it, but it's important to think about the process your potential customer is likely to go through, leading up to parting with some cash.

For example, if you sell shoe polish, the products make shoes look nice and shiny. But why does your customer care about shiny shoes? Maybe they work in an office or a shop where appearance is important; or are they just going out on a first date, wanting to impress? So by thinking about the overall goal your customer has in mind you'll be able to expand their horizons to include your product.

And what to do with this new-found insight? Include it in all of your marketing output - the website, advertising, direct messages and so on.

You might want to try Zen navigation too - it's quite illuminating, though you do need to recognise when the person you're following is just going home...