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Don’t Bore Your Customers – Inspire Them


Picture 32 million bars of soap.

Think about how big that pile is. Imagine how many trucks it takes to move 32 million of those sweet-smelling little rectangles.

Got that image in your head?

Now do the same thing with 35 million soap bars.

See the difference?

No. Of course you don’t. The scale is too vast.

If I showed you a mountain of soap bars on a football field, I could tell you there are 10 million or 50 million, and you would believe either number. Then you would ask if they have nachos at the snack bar.

Because – you know – there damn well better be snacks if I dragged you somewhere to look at soap.

No One Cares

I know a little bit about soap because I spent a few years working for an organization that provides personal hygiene products to people who don’t have access to them. As a marketer and storyteller, I got frustrated there because the organization was hardwired to spit out statistics about soap distribution and waste recycling to impress corporate partners, volunteers, and donors.

Senior leadership at that company put a lot of stock in those numbers.

Me? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong. The numbers are part of the story. They are relevant. But it’s ridiculous to lead with them. The thing with statistics and specifications is that they mean more to the people inside an organization than the people outside.

With the hygiene product people, I tried to hint subtly about my perspective. I said things like, “No one cares whether it’s 32 million bars or 35 million. They just don’t. It won’t register with them.”

See how subtle I am?

Hit ‘Em in the Feels

The thing with stats and specs is that they are all about “what” the organization does and “how” things get done. But data doesn’t get to the heart of “why” an organization does what it does. When you talk about your “why,” you should be telling me a great story. You can engage me and make me feel something.

That’s what an audience wants.

As Simon Sinek says in his book “Start With Why,” people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

Whether your audience is made up of customers, investors, or fans, they want to be inspired. And once you connect with people who believe what you believe, then they will buy your product, invest in your company, or come to see your band.

For an organization that distributes hygiene products to the less fortunate, one story about a kid who stayed healthy enough to finish sixth grade is more meaningful than a chart full of stats.

For a golf community in Florida, a story about neighbors who welcome new transplants from up north resonates with future homebuyers more than an exhaustive list of design awards.

Every company has a story to tell. Sometimes they just need a little help figuring out what it is. That’s what On Target does.

We get to know our clients and then figure out how to articulate why they do what they do. From there, we create remarkable content that helps pull customers into the company’s orbit.

If you want to chat about how we can help your company tell its story, please fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you ASAP. We can even put together a presentation, which will be devoid of any stats about our servers or how much RAM we have in our computers.

It might, however, come with a complimentary order of nachos.


John Terry is On Target’s Chief Storytelling Officer. He’s into good burgers, mediocre beer, Americana music – and driving his family out of the room with his bad guitar playing.