Marketing Together Generates Feedback

So, you have three strategic objectives: your business purpose, financial purpose and lifestyle purpose.  These will set your feet on the right road, so now the question is whether you travel your road alone or with others.  To travel with others means you have opportunities to give and receive feedback.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Most of the time, while I’m giving feedback on others’ websites or marketing, part of me is wondering why I don’t follow my advice!  It is always easier to see other people’s faults, far more clearly than your own.  So, giving feedback can sharpen your act!

Receiving feedback can be enlightening too but not always so much as giving feedback.  Mostly people give feedback by offering a solution.  Usually, you need to understand the problem and not be distracted by someone’s solution.

Say you get feedback about your website, like there are too many words or a heading is not legible.  Even something as simple as this demands an answer to the question: what exactly is the problem?  Try to steer the conversation towards defining the problem the reader perceives.  They may not understand something you’ve written, so find out exactly what they don’t understand.  What might initially appear to be too many words, may mean a search for the right words.

Once the problem is clear, you can move the discussion onto what solutions may be possible.  Note there are always several possible solutions and the first one you think of will not always be the best.

Remember it is your business and your decision.  Get the most from feedback by taking time to step back and understand the problem.

Why Feedback Works

You need to spend time understanding the feedback you receive.  Assuming your feedback is helpful, what accounts for its positive value?

  • People bring different life experiences to the conversation. They see things in a different way to you.  If they are in your target market their views may be of more value than those who are not.  However, do not discount insights from anyone.  Anyone by entering a conversation about your copy, might bring some new insight to the table.  Don’t assume it’s worthless.  Anyone who is not you, can potentially bring a new insight, something that has never crossed your mind.
  • As you spend hours carefully preparing copy for your marketing campaign, it is possible to lose perspective. Insights from someone who is not so close to your work can be valuable.  Some basic assumption you have made might conflict with success of your marketing.  Someone who doesn’t understand your work is not necessarily being obtuse.  Find out what they struggle with and discuss how it can be made clearer.  Maybe you need to say something obvious!  The person you speak to may not “get” your business but the conversation may reveal volumes about how they perceive your marketing.
  • And of course, argument leads to transformation. An intense conversation, can lead to deepening insights or completely new ideas.  Someone from a completely different business to yours might open up an entirely new way to look at your business.  This revelation may be as much of a surprise to them as it is to you.

So, you see feedback can be valuable whether it comes from someone who is new to your work or familiar with it.  It is up to you to listen carefully and engage with your critics.  Feedback done well builds trust and this may open up new possibilities for specialised support.

In these posts and emails I am forging a new approach to marketing.  Please comment and let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree.

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.