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Partners: Does Your Marketing Pass the 'WIIFM' Test?

It's a harsh reality, but your customers and prospects really don't care about your business. They don't care about the awesome award you just earned or how excited you are about the new release.

On the other hand, they might care about how your services can help their own business. Your marketing -- and all communications -- should address your customers' interests, not yours. That's where the "What's In It for Me?" (or WIIFM) test helps you look at every message from the customers' perspective.

The WIIFM test is especially important for Microsoft partners. The people who work for partners are technology enthusiasts. Everyone in this industry is passionate in their belief that technology can bring enormous benefits to customers. It's easy to get wrapped up in the hype of Microsoft and the partner community, and think that everyone should be just as excited about the potential business impact of the latest solution release or new service offering as we are.

They aren't.

The WIIFM test helps you step back and think about your marketing messages and communications from the perspective of people who are not immersed in tech.

The WIIFM Foundation
Your WIIFM test only needs to include a couple of questions, but first you need to establish the foundation of your messaging.

  • Define your target audience. What are the businesses, and who are the people within those organizations, that you want to attract as customers? You can't communicate effectively when you try to be everything to everyone. You may serve several different target markets and you should have specific definitions for each of those target markets. 

  • What are the top challenges of the target audience? For each of your markets, you should have a list of the top pains and challenges those businesses face. Ideally, you should develop both a business-level and a role-based list of challenges and pains.

  • What opportunities could you help your target audience take advantage of? The value of your services doesn't always involve solving customer pain. You may offer services that help businesses uncover or capitalize on new opportunities. Caution on this one: When you see a new feature or solution that you know your client will "love," temper the excitement and consider the real business value you can show.

Apply the WIIFM Test Before You Hit Send
Armed with your foundation, you can apply the WIIFM test to your blogs, newsletters, Web text and all of your marketing materials. Even before you hit send on an e-mail, ask these simple questions: 

  • If I were the customer, would I give a hoot about this information?

  • If I were the customer, would this information help me solve a problem or would it help me uncover new opportunity?

If you can honestly answer yes to both, the message passes the WIIFM test.

In today's world, every person in your organization is a marketer. You want your employees to be freely engaging with customers. You can help them improve their communications skills by guiding and reminding them of the WIIFM test. Every one of your employees should be familiar with the WIIFM questions and answers to keep them thinking about your business from your customers' perspective.

How do you promote effective communication with customers? Send me a note and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on April 06, 2017