Eight seconds before a near car accident, I switched on my turn signal. I pulled into the right lane. As I drove onto the exit ramp another car jetted across the dividing line. It cut right in front of me. He came within inches of hitting the divider that separates the exit ramp from the highway.
Next, he slammed on his breaks to avoid the car in front of him. I then hit my breaks to avoid hitting this jerk.
“You crazy p.o.s !” I screamed
The jarring event popped the lid off my coffee. Earlier, I loosened the cap to take bigger gulps. A good portion spilled onto the console. Spilled coffee plus road rage makes for a dangerous combination. I took a deep breath and regained my composure. A few seconds later I laughed. The event reminded me of a famous George Carlin line:
“Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot. And anyone driving faster than you is a maniac?”
Driving Habits And Persuasion
The line packs more genius than at first glance. It also hides a lesson sales, marketing and persuasion that often goes ignored.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s suppose we cruise along the highway at 65 MPH. Compare yourself to the drivers chugging along at 55.
What’s wrong with them? Why go so slow?
Then you see drivers zooming by at 75.
Maniacs. Are they trying to kill someone?
Why do we think that? Because we act in line with our own view of reality. Our values and circumstances create that view. Maybe the fast driver values productivity over safety. He wants to spend as little time as possible in the car.
Or, he prefers to drive the speed limit. Today, outside influences force him to re-prioritize his values. His boss called him and said be here in thirty minutes or find a new job. Now, getting to work as fast as possible overrides all other concerns.
Marketing To Maniacs And Idiots
When we look at the world, we see normal people like us. We also see idiots. And of course, we see maniacs.
When we craft our sales and marketing messages we default to writing to normal people (those like us). What if your market consists of idiots or maniacs? Now we face a problem. We appeal to the wrong values or the wrong values at the wrong time. Either way, we face a disconnect.
We can overcome our bias to assume others see the world as we do. Ask these two questions during your market research. Getting this right forces you to craft a message that targets your market the way they see reality:
- What values does your audience prioritize the most? Is it safety, adventure, stability?
- What external forces influence heir value system? Maybe your market values adventure above all else. Are there external forces shaking up their values? Recent health scares, life changes, job losses and other events can alter how we prioritize values.
Discover the values of our audience. Seek out the external forces shaping what they prioritize. It puts us in a better position of crafting a message that connects.