There is a theory about intelligence that takes us away from our common understanding and thoughts on the subject. Rather than a general intelligence, the one we like to measure and compare with IQ tests, this theory states that there are 8 or so intelligences, primarily sensory, and that each individual may excel or lag in each of the intelligences individually. This is the “Theory of Multiple Intelligences”.
What I find interesting, and what I’ve experienced in my time as a writer and in other roles, a similar concept applies to interests. And that by better understanding this, we can better tailor the way we communicate to be more effective. This is particularly helpful in marketing and content production. And I feel that it has major potential in the technology industry.
Different People Have Different Interests
It sounds pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? Different people have different interests. Some people love to dance, others like to swim. Some like to write computer programs, others like to drive fast cars. We’re all slightly different, and that’s what makes our planet so diverse and our species so incredible. But do we always take these differences in interests, and potentially in “intelligences”, into account?
When we’re fully engrossed in what we do each and every day, whatever that may be, we build up a certain level of knowledge and understanding about our field. We’re working towards the goal most people in a certain field work towards; the goal of becoming an expert.
We’re trying to learn everything we can to make us better at what we do. Whether to improve ourselves or to get the next promotion. In doing so, we build a lot of interest and intelligence in that area. Often at the cost of knowledge in another area.
What we must understand, in a nutshell, is that others are working on this process in their own areas. They’re working to be the best artist they can be. Or the best writer. Or the best CEO. Or the best driver. And, they’re doing that at the cost of knowledge and expertise in other areas. Similar to an “opportunity cost” in business.
So, What Does This Mean For Marketing and Writing?
When we understand that different people have different interests and differing intelligences, we can start to understand why a marketing or support message may not be working. We can then take steps to resolve this. Nice and easy.
Let’s take the example of a developer designing an application for the App Store. This might describe you, it might not. This developer, let’s call her Jean, has spent months hands-on with her application. She knows every screen inside and out, and she knows how every interaction works. She’s an expert at her application.
When marketing her application, she uses this expertise to tell everyone about all of the cool features she has put into her app - all the different and smart things it can do. But, she’s not getting as many sales as she’d like and she’s getting a lot of questions on social media and by email.
When she’s answering these questions, she’s explaining how her application works and what you can do with it. Some confused customers are converting to sales, but not many. Jean doesn’t understand why.
It’s not that Jean has made a bad app. To the contrary, it’s the best in its category. It’s well designed and has a great selection of features that people have been looking for. It’s the perfect app for the job, but people just aren’t buying it.
Can we improve this with a little bit of thinking about differing interests and intelligences? And perhaps with benefit-led messaging?
Appealing To Interests
Jean’s app, as I’ve said before, is best-in-class. It has all the features people are looking for, but her sales conversion rate is nowhere near where she wants it to be. Her App Description and marketing have outlined all the great features and work she has put in, but people aren’t buying it. Why?
The customers of an application are often very different from the people who made it. They’re looking for a solution that they themselves can’t solve, provided by those with the knowledge to solve it for them. That’s why they’re willing to part with their money.
These people - customers - are interested in how an application will help them. They want to know why they should use it. They probably aren’t interested in all the smart features on their own, or all the hard work Jean put into the app. They’re interested in how the app will help them and the benefits it will bring.
By understanding that your customers may have very different interests to you, and that their knowledge may be at a level which means they don’t really care about what your product took to make or the cool technologies you’ve used, you can understand that you need to approach them on their terms. At their level. And with their interests and benefits in mind.
By changing tact, Jean rewrites her App Store description to focus on the benefits to her customers. She realises now that instead of listing Feature A and Feature B, by combining these two features together, she has a great and unique benefit to deliver her customers. Something that she knows, from her knowledge and interest in how all these features work, and she can now explain to those looking to use her app.
She also now understands that those asking questions aren’t looking to know how much time and effort she put into the app. They don’t want a replication of the feature list. They mostly don’t care about the cool technologies Jean used (some will, and they’ll ask if they do). They just want to get a quick answer that helps them work out if they should spend their money with Jean or somewhere else.
By understanding that her interests and knowledge is different to that of her customers, Jean is able to better communicate with them and increase her sales.
How Can I Apply This Method?
To apply this method, you need to ask a simple question:
To what extent are my customers interested in the inner-workings and technology of my product?
You’ll often find that they’re not as interested as you think they are. They may not even be aware of the intricacies of the technology required to make an application, a widget, or some hardware. They’re just interested in the benefits they can get from your product, and they’re looking for support to get things working properly when something goes wrong. They don’t want to learn, they’re busy learning something else, they just want to get stuff done.
Apple is a big understander of this. Whilst some of their more contemporary copy does include mentions of the technology being uses - mainly as a nod to those moving from Android or who want to know that it’s got a better CPU than the last one - their copy focusses on what interests their customers, and selling benefits. This is no clearer than on their latest page, “Why there’s nothing quite like iPhone.”
This understanding has taken Apple from the underdog to the world’s most valuable company in a very short time period. With customers around the world who “get” what they do and shout about it to their friends and family. And a lot of this comes from understanding what interests and influences their customers and addressing that.
If you want to make your product marketing a success, understand your customer better. It’s a key part of marketing, and one that’s sorely lacking in many areas today. With just a little bit of thought, you can better tailor your messaging and communications and win more customers over.
Sam Hutchings helps companies communicate more effectively with their customers. You can see some of his work at http://www.samhutchings.co/portfolio. If you’d like to get Sam involved with a project you’re working on, get in touch!