Levels of understanding

When is the last time you felt good about somebody trying to outsmart you?

Probably, never.

Yet, most B2B marketing feels like a run at outsmarting the customer. Obscure language, unclear pricing, absurd experiences, inconsistent services. And that is mainly because at some point the company decides that their product is better than anything else, and it is the customer’s job to pay attention, put in the effort, understand the ins and outs, and be wow’ed.

It might indeed be that your product is good. But as a marketer, your role is to remind yourself of the challenges you faced when moving from somebody who knew nothing about it to somebody who knows enough to tell about it.

From somebody who is on a 2 to somebody who is on a 7 on the scale below.

10Is world’s leading expert on the idea.
9Can ask expert questions and generate new information/data on the idea.
8Can answer expert questions and reconcile contradictory thoughts about the idea.
7Can answer any layman’s question and forms independent thoughts on the idea.
6Can answer any layman’s question and forms intelligent opinions on the idea.
5Knows about the idea, and can discern inaccurate statements about the idea.
4Knows about the idea, and can explain what’s been learned in one’s own words.
3Heard of the idea, and recites what others have said about it.
2Heard of the idea, but doesn’t know anything about it.
1Never heard of the idea.
Tim Urban’s scale of levels of understanding (full article at First Round).

Marketing is not a competition. It is not about outwitting your customer, finding smarter ways to express complex concepts, putting on display all the knowledge you have.

Marketing is about going back to your journey across the scale and bringing some customers along.

If you succeed in this, you succeed in marketing.

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