Becoming Professional: A Blog

One Man’s Dull Is Another’s Wow

Posted on: December 2, 2010

Image of a puppy in snow

Photo by John Talbot. Click to visit original location.

In my last post I mentioned that a good marketer has to be able to look at things through the eyes of his target audience and recognize that while what is “wicked cool” to that audience might be “really gross and sick” to him, he can still market to that audience. For instance, I’m absolutely petrified by zombies; yet in promoting the Phoenix Comicon, I had to figure out how to communicate and appeal to people who thought zombies were so awesome they liked to dress up as them for themed parties. Not my personal crowd, but this is very doable.

Another facet of this is that you can’t assume that what is dull to you isn’t the bee’s knees to someone else. What made me think of this was the snow that is currently falling outside my window. I have never lived in a place where it snows, though I’d seen it before. To me, this is a fascinating new experience. I mean, the roofs are white! How cool is that?

Of course, to a native of snowy lands, I look insane. After all, most of the people I’ve talked to who moved away from areas that get snow said they did so because, “I don’t like digging my car out of snow.” In fact, a friend responded to my Tweet about the snow by telling me that the novelty wears off rather quickly.

Be that as it may, to me snow is magical. Ice falls in fluffy flakes and I can actually understand why Santa wears that heavy coat. No, I’m not idealistic. I know it well get in the way (it already has to some degree), but that isn’t my point here.

My point is that you have to notice how ideas might affect your audience differently from how they affect you. After all, the opposite is true. Imagine being an American and going to a Japanese person all excited about QR codes, those little graphics you can ad to offline material to help users connect online. Well, they might be relatively new in the States, but they are apparently quite common in Asia. What is new and novel to you might be humdrum to someone else.

This is different from simply marketing to a different demographic from your own because that is based mostly on product and appeal while this is on point of view. What I’m talking about now affects all interactions, from marketing to chatting with friends. We all have that friend who goes on and on about something you really don’t care about. You really don’t want to be that person as a marketer because it is a lot easier to walk away from an ad than tell your friend to shut up without damaging your relationships. Also, by recognizing that something dull to you is amazing to someone else you can find opportunities for even more meaningful communication. For instance, if someone came to me and told me right now about a park that has a great cafe, lots of snow, and cute snow-covered trees, that cafe would get my business in a heartbeat.

It’s something to think about. And if you know such a park in London, don’t hesitate to share!


4 Responses to "One Man’s Dull Is Another’s Wow"

I agree. Great view point.

I love the snow and coming from Cape Town it will always remain special.

The challenge on cool is common cool vs personal cool. Or targeted cool vs personal cool.

Keep Warm


Thank you very much for the comment! Yeah, if you’re from a place that doesn’t have snow, it will always be neat. And yes, warmth is a priority this year!

Loved this post.

And it’s something that the creative industry has to deal with on a daily basis, whether evaluating our own ideas or trying to convince clients that the ideas we’re presenting are right.

Difficulty is, what we already ‘know’ frames what we see, and what we see frames what we understand. The things we make are an extension of the manner in which we think!

Putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes is therefore really really challenging!

Thank you for the comment, David! The creative industry has a lot of things to deal with doesn’t it?

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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog ( and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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