Practical Ecommerce

Are You an Ego Marketer?

Ego or Effective?

Good marketing communicates your unique value to your target market. It builds recognition and credibility for your products and services and creates a steady flow of interested prospects and new customers. Ego marketing makes you feel good at the expense of effective communication with your audience.

Some forms of ego marketing are easy to spot: Ever been to a website with “A Word from our CEO” page? Ever bother to read it? Me neither. Wordy executive bios often found online and in brochures are other examples of egos talking.

Ego marketing gets in the way of your sales efforts. It reduces the effectiveness of your communication and, in many cases, actually turns prospects off. In today’s cluttered marketplace, it’s hard enough to stand out from the crowd without handicapping yourself with ego marketing.

Take the Ego Test

Any graphic design or copy that makes you feel really good is in danger of failing the “ego test.” To take the ego test, be honest with yourself. Ego marketing is about you. It validates your contribution (as an individual or a company) to the world around you. It recognizes your significant achievements and milestones. If your latest marketing piece is something you’re tempted to put in a scrapbook, take a closer look for ego vs. information.

There is another, more subtle form of ego marketing that many companies unknowingly use. This consists of addressing your value proposition from the perspective of “what we will do for you.” Unfortunately, your prospects are only tuned into the “what’s in it for me?” frequency, which tunes out messages about you. Effective marketing copy is written from the reader’s perspective.

If your text includes numerous references to “we will,” “our company,” “we have,” “we can,” and few references to “you will,” “you can,” and “your company,” then you have a problem.

Common Ego Marketing Traps

  • Executive commentaries (Does this support your corevalue proposition?) – Extensive executive bios (Do your customers care?)
  • Photographs of individuals (Do these add credibility?)
  • Extensive use of “we” or “I” (Can this be more compelling by using “you?

Keep it Real

So, how do you ensure that your web text will have a positive impact on your target audience and not on your selfesteem? Here are a few rules to keep you on track:

  • Remember Your Goal – It’s critical that your site has a specific goal. Maybe you’re trying to stimulate phone inquiries or drive sales. Whatever your goal, stay focused on it, and your message will naturally be more powerful and less ego driven.

  • Know Your Audience – Have a clear understanding of your target audience. Focus on what’s important to them and how they can get it. Keep your choice of language appropriate to this group, and immerse yourself in the reader’s perspective thereby hitting their hot buttons rather than stroking your ego.

  • Turn the Tables – Whenever possible, have someone from your target audience review your web text before it’s finalized. Ask them about relevance, interest level and impact. Take their word for it and make the necessary changes. Companies are frequently too close to their products and services to do a good job of describing them succinctly and effectively.

Mat Greenfield

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  1. Legacy User April 26, 2008 Reply

    I beg to dissagree. Here's why:
    There was a song on the 1970's by Skyhooks called: "Ego Is Not A Dirty Word" – if you get the lyrics, it tells a good tale. Ego isnt bad, as people love to buy from people, not a facesless oganization like a lot of comapnies promote. Ego also shows self-confidence and assures buyers you are willing to stand publically alongside your bsuiness.

    Its worth looking at the opposite view here too, i.e. if you arent willing to have an Ego, what are you not sure about? Your customers dont wish to buy from a shy business owner.

    from David Newton
    Brisbane, Australia
    Skype: auslife

    — *David Newton*

  2. Legacy User June 5, 2008 Reply

    I don't mind if you have an ego (hey, I write this column don't I?). But I do have a problem when effective marketing is sacrificed for ego.

    If you think of the Dyson guy, his ads feature him (and show his personality as you suggest), but they don't sacrifice explaining the value of his product to the target audience.

    I think there's a fine line…

    Mat Greenfield

    — *Mat Greenfield*

  3. butterslices March 18, 2009 Reply

    We have a new client that delighted in showing us their radio ad (well ‘playing us’), their advert soon to post on a series of local buses and their billboard campaign.

    We were impressed with their passion but when I asked a series of questions about current conversion, cost per lead and that minor figure called ROI the Director scoffed and told me it’s impossible to monitor all ‘that kind of stuff’ at ‘this level of spend’.

    As we left the same Director handed us hot-off-the-press corporate branded golfing umbrella’s with a wink. He told me they weren’t cheap so enjoy it. I handed mine back to him and told him I just saved him £40.

    Was it a genuine gift or a little bit of ego? We have a lot of work to do!