Tailor Your Message to What Your Audience Wants to Hear


If you want to make a statement, tell them what you want to say. If you want to make a deposit, tell them what they want to hear. Sounds simple enough, but what do they want to hear and who are they anyway?

Every successful business learns eventually that there are a whole lot of folks between them and their end-user. Each one wants to hear a different message for a different reason. Sometimes we get so excited about our new idea and how well it will go over with the general public that we forget how essential it is to get it to them. Focusing on the benefits to your end-user is fundamental, but don’t forget all the other folks in between and what each of them wants to hear.

“What’s in it for me?” is the question they all want you to address.  It may surprise you that it has little to do with those end-user benefits you are so excited about. Research, experience, questioning and listening can tell you what they want to hear.

Your own staff may want to hear how they will share in your success. They may want to hear about the incentive programs, benefits, working conditions, days off, and advancement opportunities. They may also want to hear how your idea will make the world a better place. They want to hear about your previous successes and your ability to weather a storm.

All your middle men want know how your product improves their strategic position versus their competition, how you are going to help them sell it, how they can get it for less, and how much you have budgeted for marketing. They want to know who will buy it and why.

If you depend on retailers, they will want to hear how your product fits into their existing categories, what kind of point-of-sale promotional materials you have, and what kind of a warranty you provide. They want to know that you have a representative in their area. They also want to hear how you will send customers to them to buy your product.

Your idea may be a game changer, but are they ready to play a new game? Sometimes pioneering a new concept can take years to catch on. Your initial buyers may buy for reasons you never dreamed of. If you are changing the world, get ready for some missionary work and some unlikely initial customers. Be ready to change your message to stay relevant with the market as it is now and as it changes.

Does your product weigh a lot or is it inexpensive? That’s all the more reason to be ready with multiple messages. Internet product sales, with the exception of downloads, require shipping whether or not it’s included in the price. Somebody pays for it. Most heavy or inexpensive items can’t compete with conventional brick and mortar store pricing because of shipping costs. If that sounds like your product, you likely will want to go through the general retail market. Identify what each person between you and your end-user wants to hear, and give them what they want.

Don’t just make a statement, make a deposit!


About Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey

Starting in a laundry room with no money or industry knowledge, they built the iconic Best-Selling Barefoot Wine Brand - without advertising. In 2005, they monetized their brand equity and now offer proven business principles and real world experience. Visit our YouTube Channel →


  1. NEWS FETCH – JUNE 19, 2012 | Wine Industry Insight - June 19, 2012

    [...] Tailor Your Message to What Your Audience Wants to Hear [...]

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