Overheard on fellow Corante member Tom Asacker’s blog this weekend:

“Most (organizations) obsess over the “facts” – the features, attributes and quality of their offering, while ignoring the “truth” – the feelings of their audience. They focus on the rational and measurable, and disregard the emotional and ethereal. But a product or service is never more than a means to an end. And that end, that truth, is always a feeling. It’s the feeling that draws an audience in. They want to get lost in your marketing. They want to feel the importance and meaning of what you offer – for themselves, in their guts – rather than having it be overt and obvious. They don’t want to be objectively convinced. They want to subjectively believe!”


“The key to success in business today is to forget the language of logic and arguments, and become proficient at the language of feelings and beliefs. Discover and appeal to your audience’s why . . . their truth. If you focus on the facts, you’ll believe that your mission should be to convey those facts. Wrong! The truth rules. Everything is subjective. Every decision is driven by what is inside someone – memories, images, stories and feelings – not what’s on the outside.”

Look at product packaging. Software specs are on the back or the side, or even the inside of the box, not the front. Same with music CDs. Same with DVDs. Same with books. Same with gum and cheese and cigarettes (though not necessarily in that order). Look at print ads. Sure, the facts are there somewhere. Probably in fine print, framing the bottom of the page.

Facts can sell. Like… “0% APR until 2008”, “120 gigabites Hard drive”, “17.2 megapixels”, “0 to 60 in 6.38 seconds”, “1 calorie per serving”, “complete with wheelset: 15.2 lbs”, “$519 round trip to Paris”, “kills 99.9% of germs on contact”. The list goes on. There is a place for facts, when the facts are… well, the point. And when branding isn’t.

But what sells Tylenol PM, the video iPod, the Macintosh G4, the Starbucks cup of coffee, the Porsche Cayenne, the $1.2M spec house at The Cliffs, Cervelo’s fully loaded $7,000 P3C, the Ironman triathlon entry fee, the G-shock watch, the liter of Coca Cola, the Canon DSLR, the Philips flat screen TV, the pack of Camels, the bottle of Absolut Citron, the Loreal conditioner, the bottle of Yoplait drinkable yogurt, the Crest toothpaste, and the Club Med cruise isn’t facts.

Facts are a list of the things that your product does. That’s it. Important, sure, but boring.

What Tom calls Truth is your customers’ vision of how your product will enrich their lives. Truth is context. Truth is the projected inner voice behind every successful Marketing conversation.

What turns people into customers lives in the space between what your product does and what it can do for them.

Think of it all as being on a lind date. Will your date want to go out with you again if all you do is talk about yourself (what you do, how much you make, how much you can bench, how fast you can run a 5K, how white your teeth are, how many degrees you have)? Probably not.

What if, instead, you listened more than you spoke, were genuinely interested in what makes her/him happy, made your conversation more relevant to her/his interests, and made plans to go do something fun or exciting together?

Hmmm. I don’t know… Let me think…