The Consumer isn't Stupid

I had a Twitter post ready to go. It read, "When in doubt, Google it first. If you still can't figure it out, give us a call." My boss recoiled in horror when I showed it to him.

Boss: You can't post this.

Me: Why not?

Boss: I want them to call us.

Me: That's the call to action.

Boss: No, you don't understand. I want them to call us every time.

Me: I'm not following your thought process.

Boss: I don't want them going to Google. I want them calling us first. Google shouldn't even enter their mind.


I was surprised, to say the least. I asked how this would be accomplished, given that Google accounts for 25% of daily internet usage. According to Forbes, Google's brand equity is #2 in the world with a value of $82.5 B. Unfortunately, none of that information mattered.


Me: Can you help me understand how we will maintain such a high presence of mind?

Boss: You wouldn’t understand. Just get rid of the part about Google.


I admit, the ad hominem agitated me. I proudly display my history of marketing. So I asked for explanation.


Me: Okay....what's our content strategy then?

Boss: That is our strategy. Tell them to call us every time there is a problem. That is how we make our money.

Me: If we have this system where we answer every call, no matter how insignificant the issue is, we are eventually going to have a logjam. We would not have sufficient techs available for the big problems. Thereby, suggesting a quick Google search will save both the customers and us time, money and frustration.


My boss insisted I was wasting time by asking questions and demanded my obedience. The rest of the day was quite awkward. An argument over asking how we could attract customers' attention had turned into stonewalling and do-as-I-say.


In the words of David Ogilvy, "The customer is not a moron. She's your wife." I felt that this was a prime example of Outbound Marketing – the marketer does all the talking. I disagree as Inbound Marketing is by far and away more effective.


Ogilvy’s supply of advertising wisdom is endless. “You cannot bore people into buying your product; you can only interest them in buying it.” I adhere to that model. Educating your consumer is the first step in guiding them toward the decision to buy.