Why “so what?” are the two most important words in marketing

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So what? They are words you never want to hear – but as Mick Jagger once surmised, “you might find you get what you need.”

Recently, I had an uncomfortable Epiphany in a client meeting. We’d presented our most recent results and we were fairly confident we’d smashed it. Reach was exceptional, engagement was sky-high, month-on-month the numbers were going up.

And then the client cut me dead. “So what?”

In that split-second, my heart skipped a beat, the ground fell from beneath my feet, my life flashed before my eyes, etc.

And then he explained himself. He wasn’t being rude. It was a deliberate provocation, a reminder, to consider the bigger picture.

What did these results mean for the business? How can we attribute tangible success to these figures, in a way that is meaningful for the client’s board? Why does any of this matter?

“So what?” didn’t mean we’d done a bad job. It meant we’d given an incomplete picture of our achievements.

We all get those “so what?” moments in marketing

A few weeks later, we were interviewing a candidate and reviewing the task we’d set for her.

It was a sample press release, to get a sense of writing style, structure and emphasis. The piece was fine, but we felt it was lacking that essential link between the facts being reported and the reason it was newsworthy.

And suddenly, I found myself in my client’s shoes. I asked her, “So what?”

Presumably, in that split-second, her heart skipped a beat, the ground fell from beneath her feet, her life flashed before her eyes, etc.

But don’t worry. We talked it through, she understood where I was coming from and – spoiler alert! – she got the job.

Be your own “so what?” voice

The conclusion here is obvious. “So what?” are the two most important words in marketing. And you shouldn’t wait for somebody else to ask them.

Whatever the message, however you’re delivering it, take that moment to ask yourself: “so what?”

Have you thought through all of the implications? Does your article / press release / social post / video / advert / report / interpretive dance* (*delete as applicable) truly deliver value and meaning to its audience?

If you can answer “yes,” then you’ll avoid that awkward moment when somebody else asks: “so what?” about your marketing.

And, happily, you’ll prove Mick Jagger wrong and get what you want.

To find out just how we can help you ensure your rolling stone gathers no moss, check out our PR & communications services.

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