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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Test your assumptions

Great marketing is great communicating, and too often we get it wrong. We assume someone thinks something, or feels something, because of our own preconceptions. Or maybe we are right in our assumptions, but the situation is temporary. For example, the person doesn't return your call, or your ad draws disappointing results. Is it because the ad is bad, or the person isn't interested, or is it something else? (Maybe the person you are trying to reach has a personal crisis.)

Of course, knowing when to question the obvious and when to accept it is something of an art rather than a science. You don't want wishful thinking to rule your choices. So you need simple, quick, and inexpensive (and fast) tools to test out your assumptions. The amount of testing and questioning you do (if your initial results are discouraging) depends on the importance of the matter to you.

Say, for example, you wish to reach a key decision-maker and he or she doesn't return your calls or voice-mail messages. At some point, you may decide to give up, or try someone else. But there are arguments for checking a little more deeply -- perhaps calling the person's administrative assistant, or someone else in the company.

And it never hurts on important things to check with your colleagues, your boss, friends, or other clients. They may give you a different perspective to the situation and you may have a much more valuable response.

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