A lesson from Oprah on interacting with your customers

Oprah in front of a crowd in AustraliaSunday night, I was watching “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes,” and heard an important lesson for all marketers, for all businesses and all organizations.

Oprah had just returned to her hotel room after visiting Melbourne, where 10,000 people lined the streets to see her put on what was basically a press event. She was upset because it ended up being more about her and not about her audience. There was very little crowd interaction. “Ego,” she called it and took the blame herself.

She felt like all those people showed up for nothing. She should’ve given them more. So, my question for you is:  Should you be feeling the same way?

Is your audience walking away thinking you made their experience all about you?

I hope not. But with many brands, big and small, the answer is too often, yes.

Here’s a quick, simple way to check:

Is your brochure or website worded the way you talk or the way your audience talks?

Do you see words like “leverage,” “holistic,” or even “provide”? If yes, you should let someone skilled in plain language edit your work.

How many times did you mention “we” or your company name?

If it’s a flyer and your answer is more than three, you could be in trouble. More than five? Start over and put the focus on your reader by saying “you” more often.

Did you include everything you wanted to include?

This one’s a trick question. If you answered yes, you are probably in the wrong. You want to include what your audience wants or needs to understand the product and/or take action, not what you want them to know.

Relevance is your responsibility

The key to all great marketing is to make it relevant to your audience. Or as Oprah says,

“It’s up to me to bring a level of meaning to it.”

Remember that. The next time you write or speak to your audience, the next time you communicate in some way with your customers and potential customers, it’s up to you to bring meaning to their experience.

The more you bring relevance and meaning, the more you drive something else—brand loyalty.

You may or may not like Oprah, but you have to admit she knows what she’s doing. After all, she’s had a large and intensely loyal following for 25 years.

Does that sound good to you?


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