Your Opinion is Interesting But Irrelevant

In the book, “Tuned In” by Craig Stull, Phil Myers, and David Meerman Scott (it’s an oldy but still a goody), the authors say this one line repeatedly.

“Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.”

By this the authors mean that when it comes to knowing what will and won’t work, what does and doesn’t resonate, and what can or can’t make your business a success, you simply cannot rely on what you alone like. You must ask your target audience for their opinion.

I have experienced numerous examples of this in action, but I want to tell you about the very first time I really got how this works.

Years ago I self-published an eBook on Amazon about web design principles. As I was getting close to my launch date, I hired two different designers to each create a cover design for the book. I liked both of the designs for different reasons, but was leaning towards one because it personally appealed to me.

So I decided to ask my tribe.

I put the two covers side by side, labeled them A and B, and posted them to my Facebook page and asked for people’s opinions.

For a while it was pretty much split down the middle, then the crowd started to lean toward Cover A, which is the one I ultimately decided to use.

But the whole exercise made me start to wonder…

Why were some people so strongly pulled toward one or the other, and why was it so evenly split?

After researching which individuals chose which cover, I realized that the people who preferred Cover B were the technical types. Engineers, technicians, and computer-savvy left-brain folks. Those who preferred Cover A were the artistic, visual, right-brain folks.

Cover B looked like a textbook manual. Cover A looked more “fun.”

I myself preferred B (and so did my husband), because I’m a geek and I like reading technical materials. But I don’t write that way, and the book was not a technical manual. The audience I was trying to reach was most definitely non-technical people.

So, if I’d gone with what I liked, I may have sent a visual message that ran completely contrary to what I was trying to convey with the book.

Therefore, my opinion, although interesting, was irrelevant.

Because ultimately your client probably isn’t like you. What appeals to you may not appeal to the people you want to serve.

The next time you are faced with a decision, especially when it’s related to messaging or course content, try asking your audience. This can help you leaps and bounds with creating content or products that really resonate with your ideal client. It will help them start to feel like you are talking to them directly, almost like you are reading their mind.

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