No, thanks

What is valuable to your audience?

We design experiences with our own benefit in mind, trying to make life easier for us, adding an additional step so that we don’t have to do some more work.

And the burden of all this, of course, is on the user. Who has options and kindly says, no thanks.


The Flickr for videos.

A Netflix for video games.

The Airbnb for parking.

It’s a great way to describe what your product does, but do you and your team understand what that means? What are the characteristics of the original that you believe you have? What will ensure that you will still be in that same game in the future? Or is it a trick to cheat your stakeholders into believing you will get to a similar valuation?

It is a useful exercise to clarify what you mean by taking this useful shortcut. It brings your team together and creates alignment throughout the company. It gives you milestones to look forward to and a manifesto customers can buy into.

Start with:

  • What features matter to the original and to us alike.
  • What parts of both stories are common and what are not.
  • How do we ensure we continue on the same path.


It does not tell much about our product.

What about talking about that feature we have spent all that money on?

We should probably play it safe.

I don’t think it’s going to work.

It’s nice, but it lacks appeal.

Why don’t we put a nice picture with a smart description of our product capabilities?

I am sure whoever is behind this genius campaign by 3M has heard some versions of this many times, as many marketers have. Some give up, some persist.

One way or the other, keep in mind that people are not moved by rationality.

Tell stories

Tell about yourself with examples.

You are not self-motivated, you have started your own solo business and grown it to 200k ARR.

You are not a team player, you have joined a team and found a way to help your peers get the recognition they deserved.

You are not a marketing professional, you have researched audiences for five companies and found the most effective way to build a connection with their audiences.

Don’t tell about labels, tell stories.

That’s how you are going to win us over.

Note: It’s just as valid for products and services.

Do unto others

Do unto others what you would like them do unto you.

Isn’t that THE golden rule?

Be kind to others if you want them to be kind with you.

Be honest and trustworthy with others if you want honesty and trust.

Don’t cheat on others if you don’t like to be cheated on.

But also – with a marketing twist.

Don’t put out there content you would not read yourself.

Keep your forms simple, as you like them when you are the prospect.

Don’t reach out to people after one signal, since you don’t want to book a meeting after downloading a guide.

It’s a golden rule indeed, yet one we fail to practice often.

And the main reason might be that we are inclined to believe that we are somehow special, that we are worthy of forgiveness, that we (and our product, and our services) will always get a second, and a third, and a fourth chance.

The harsh reality is that we are not.

So, do unto others what you would like them to do unto you.