No one is thinking about your business, they’re too busy thinking about movies
There are people who watch the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner every week for the sole purpose of determining whether the main character, Rick Deckard, is a human or a replicant (the film’s word for android). It’s a 35-year-old argument among science-fiction fans. “Is Deckard a replicant?”
But Scott, director of the movie, has answered the question with surprisingly little fanfare. In a few interviews in the mid-2000s he quickly and without much thought or debate said, “He’s a replicant.”
All these years later, fans of Scott’s movie have thought about it almost every day, and he clearly hasn’t given it any extra thought. There’s no internal debate. There is no obsessed wondering. Deckard is an android, and Scott hasn’t thought about it since 1982. He’s made 21 movies since.
Blade Runner might not be a movie you think of often, but that proves the point even further: There are people who obsess about things you don’t care about. It’s true the other way around, too.
Some obsessions with movies run deep.
Did Han shoot first?
What’s in Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase?
Why wouldn’t Rose move over to make room for Jack on that damn door?
All too often, as business owners, we imagine our customers think about our businesses the way science-fiction fans think about Blade Runner. They don’t.
My friend’s wife is very self-conscious in public. She isn’t vain, but she is rather anxious. If she does something embarrassing in public, like trip or spill a drink, she’ll likely ask her husband for them to leave because everyone is looking at her. “No one is thinking about you,” he always replies. “Besides your mom and me, no one is thinking about you.”
The same goes for your business. Seriously, unless you’re Apple or Wal-Mart, I doubt anyone is thinking about your business right now. There very well may be people inside your business who aren’t thinking about your business right now.
You care more about your business than your customers do. At least I hope so—because most of your customers don’t really care.
This doesn’t mean they don’t want to do business with you. It just means your business isn’t their problem. They don’t have a reason to obsess over you.
Look around your home or office. Do you celebrate the anniversary of purchasing your computer? How about your favorite pen? That sweet TV your friends envy? Probably not. You just want these items to work when you need them.
An Integrated Marketing Communications major interviewed me a few weeks ago, previewing my TEDx talk in the Ole Miss student newspaper. He was shocked to find out about a marketing firm in Tupelo.
At first, I was outraged. I’m involved with the university. I have a staff member who actually speaks to his specific school each semester about marketing. The writer is a marketing major—how could he not know about us? But it’s not really his job to know about us. At least not yet.
He was excited and asked about an internship, and I decided Mabus Agency needs to do a better job promoting our presence in Oxford.
The whole experience reminded me of my attempt to promote my agency when we first opened. I quickly realized normal people don’t research marketing firms in their spare time. They watch Blade Runner on Netflix, and they look for marketing firms when they feel like they need them (or perhaps a little too late).
Sometimes we scoff at individuals for not being intimately aware of our businesses, but no one is obsessing over your business except for you.
Instead of expecting people to be excited that our business is turning 10 years old or that we’ve remodeled, we have to tell them a story that will make them care.
Rick Deckard didn’t capture the minds of millions of moviegoers by walking on screen and posing the question, “Am I human or android?” He told a story of conflict through acting. He’s a hard-nosed detective in a dystopian future trying to reconcile empathy with artificial intelligence.
You have to tell your customers a story compelling them to care about your business, and I’ll give you a hint: That story has way more to do with them than it does with you.
Were you founded in 1970? No one cares.
Do you have 47 years of knowledge and experience to offer them? That’s incredible.
Your compelling story persuading the customer to care is actually a story about the customer. After all, you’ve been helping people just like them for 47 years.