I love me 300x288 Theres No Me Me Me in BusinessMy friend Cher Rineer shared an email that she received yesterday. In a nutshell, it points out pretty much everything that is wrong with marketing these days.

Here is an excerpt, with a few identifying factors redacted:

Hello I want to do business with you. But first you need to know what I do. Please go to (web address). A short 2 minute video will provide great education to make valid business decision regarding [our product]. Then please contact me at [phone number] or email me direct at [email address] to discuss. Best regards.

And this wasn’t just some spammy phishing scheme. It’s a real business, with a real (yet horrible) website. And this is how they do business.

They start by telling you that they want to work with you, but then tell you that the onus is on you to do your homework.

In other words, it’s all about them.

“Hey, look at ME! Come do business with ME! Research ME! I’m doing you a favor by just being ME!”

It doesn’t work that way. It never really has, but with the internet and social media, you can’t get away with this approach anymore. We exist as businesses solely for the purpose of providing something for people, either a product or a service. Yes, we might be meeting a very specific and real need, but in most cases, they don’t need us. They can get what they want or need elsewhere. If we disappeared tomorrow, life would go on. The world would keep spinning, the sun would still rise.

Like all of those other buzzwords, we give lip service to the idea of being customer-centric, but in most cases, it’s nothing more than words. Rhetoric. Preaching to the deaf choir. We conduct ourselves as if it’s all about us.

But it’s not.

Sure we need jobs and we need to pay the bills. But I hope that’s not why we are in business. I hope that we don’t create businesses solely for the purpose of amassing cash. I hope there is something more.

In fact, in this digital climate, as Daniel Newman states, your customers might actually know more than you:

Customers seem to know more than ever before about your products and services. In this reversal of traditional customer engagement, the paradigm of teaching your customers about what you do has flipped and now customers walk through the door knowing exactly what they want and what they should pay for it.

Our job, as Newman says, is threefold:

  • Know your customers – understand who they are, don’t make them get to know you.
  • Get discovered – getting found when your knowledgeable customers need you is at the heart of inbound marketing. Don’t go after them. Instead, be there when they are looking for you.
  • Use grassroots tactics – Subtle word of mouth can be more powerful than traditional in your face tactics. A good customer referral will get me long before your email ordering me to learn more about you.

Everything has changed. The customer is at the center of the equation, and you’re on the outside looking in.

It’s not about you. Stop with the “me, me, me.” Focus on them and you’ll see a monumental shift in your thinking about your business.

What’s your current Me to Them Ratio?