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Un-Selfishing your Presence


When I was about 7 years old, we got my dad the best Christmas presents ever…three new Atari games: Frogger, Pitfall and Space Invaders. The brilliance of our gift was that we looked like great kids, my older brothers and I, but we weren’t at all because my dad didn’t play with Atari – we did. So, in effect, we bought the games for ourselves.

They weren’t really the best presents ever, they were the most selfish presence ever.

Cheesey as it may be, this little fable teaches us an important business lesson – and it’s simple. Whether you’re a company or a freelancer or a whatever you are, you have to do some marketing, right?

When you (and your copywriter) create your outreach message – make sure that you:

  • Listen to your audience first.
  • Find out what they want.
  • Answer their questions.
  • Solve their problems.
  • …as opposed to yours.
  • Because this isn’t about you.

If we’d listened to my dad, for example, we would’ve found out that he really wanted cheesey music a Loggins & Messina record (literally vinyl), a toy for his mid-life crisis Mazda RX7, Cardinal’s baseball tickets or a cigar…not Frogger. Not even close.

The result for us was lousy allowance rates, fewer trips to get ice cream and some eye rolling…what’s yours?

Image courtesy of sokabs

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • EKSwitaj says:

    That’s a cute story – and an important point. You know, the best gift I ever gave my dad was a Yankees hat. I happen to hate the Yankees passionately, but he grew up in New Jersey.

  • Michele says:

    It’s craziness when folks buy presents for someone else that they really want for themselves. I mean, you were kids. It’s totally different when an adult does it! ;-)

    Great message and great post!


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