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December 16, 2010


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Paul Flanigan


Could not agree more. I was responsible for the video network at Best Buy for four years, and constantly saw the battle between a gadget and a benefit. And you're right. People cared less about features and more about benefits. The biggest challenge is that understanding the needs of a consumer takes longer than a three minute transaction - and traffic moves so fast now that most are afraid to miss a sale. I hope the effort to understand continues to grow.

Dianna Huff

Thanks for this David. Cool video. I signed up for the press conference. The video piqued my interest. :-)

Dave Saunders

So many elements of this video track the Apple 1984 video. Great elements of change, hope...

David Meerman Scott

Dave & Dianna -- glad you guys like it, I respect your opinions so the video must be good.

Paul - thanks so much for this. Man, as the video person for Best Buy you really must have fought this battle between products and problems. Wow. You're right - the key is understanding what buyers need. But that's more difficult for a marketer to do than prattle on about the damned features which is why we have so much crap marketing.


I have been battling a few clients which don't get it when it comes to understanding that their products are not a priority for possible customers.

I was setting up a website for a client and in the planning phase while I was asking for specs and a better understanding of what the product did and problems it solved, I was surprise with my clients answer.
My client replied that it was such a sophisticated product that it would need to explanation because the buyers already knew what they wanted ( I am not going to share on how badly they are doing in sales because of this mentality).

I think explaining it from the perspective of the buyers caring about themselves instead of my clients products is great! It will be easier for me to try to help them understand the issues at hand and educate them towards getting attention from possible customers.

On another note why did Tim decide to be the HDTV... LOL Great video! I always enjoy Tim's Humor. Great idea of having someone scream over when they where going to mention the sponsor. In reminds me of the Saturday Night Live Pat Character of the 90's.

David Meerman Scott

Rj_c - Yeah, Tim is really clever. I also liked the scream over the company.

Yinka olaito

Those who understand this basic skill make more impact and get better results than those who are involve in hard sell



This is a great post. I have been speaking with the organization I work for about this very thought. They still believe that their current website has to be a catalog to people instead of trying to explain to people what our mission is, "Helping People". All, I can say, is that after reading your book New Rules to Marketing has changed the way I view marketing on the Internet.

The video was entertaining but at the same time, making a clear statement at the same time.

Kenny Madden

Funny. My job is to work on behalf of 1.2 million IT buyers who are screaming to be engaged on THEIR TERMS not THE OTHER WAY AROUND. It is something's VERY hard to get IT Vendors interested in people who want to buy their products. They are MORE focussed on inside sales teams that cold call and trying to hit lead gen quota as opposed to generating customers.


I spent years in employee communications and am now focusing more on customer-facing marketing, but my starting point is always the same: the audience. It's business communications 101 - know your audience, focus on their needs, anticipate & answer their questions. For years I have pounded the drum of looking at things not from the sender's (or seller's) perspective, but from the audience's (or buyer's). Love to see it getting visibility here. Now, if we can convince people outside of marketing (the SMEs!) we'll make even more progress.

mark allen roberts

Another post that will be forwarded to a number of people!

Unfortunately, far too many web sites are virtual catalogs and they, like their sales teams, play "feature and benefit BINGO" just hoping their buyers will jump up and yell: “BINGO...I get it, I understand the problems you solve for me!" …as I discuss in my blog; http://tiny.cc/s0e4b

I tell my clients it’s like that new game show ; “You have a minute to win it” ( if that on the web) If your content does not clearly state the problems you solve for me, ideally in the way ( voice) I use…I keep searching.

Mark Allen Roberts

David Meerman Scott

Amazing the agreement on this concept. Thank you all for commenting. So why is so tough for people to follow these ideas?

Tatyana Gann

Excellent post as always! I work with clients who have amazing products that are medical scientic breakthroughs but they are so focused on the product that they do not want to speak customer language. They argued for month to realize it was not what they need. they were going into default mode..

As they say what customers complain we bring solution to them.

Great post David. love to share!


Ricardo Bueno

David: Loved reading "World Wide Rave" where you talked about this at length.

Joseph Ratliff


You asked why more people don't follow these ideas.

I think a part of it has to do with how we envision "this great thing we created/are marketing/can distribute will add value to people's lives."

The problem is, I think we know that about our products, but the translation to the [real] benefits for the person looking for the product gets lost. It's just so much easier to list off a bunch of features. :)

Very few people care about 6GB of RAM, they want to know what that does for them in their home or office, and they want to know that RIGHT NOW.

David Meerman Scott

Joseph -- Exactly!

My car has antilock brakes. So what?

Joseph Ratliff

LOL...well you'll:

--> avoid an unnecessary and sometimes scary trip to the doctor or hospital.

--> still be here to write blog posts from time to time.

--> ahhh, forget it...I'm rambling.


David Meerman Scott

--> I'll let my teenage daughter drive even in the snow (if she is careful).

david baxter and norma hart

Hi, We have published a book FOR ALL OUR GRANDFATHERS which one publisher reported it to be an outstanding book and an achievement that took 20 years of research which traces our family from 4026 BC to the present living family with facinating detail of their life stories. We cannot understand why although they promote it the large retailers have not as far as we are aware sold one copy. What do you think has gone wrong? We are pensioners who cannot afford paying for publicity.

David Meerman Scott

David Baxter and Norma Hart -- When I search for the book on Amazon, there is no cover image, no description, and it says "out of print." Your publisher is not doing their job.

Publishers get distribution, but it is your job to market the book.

Good luck. David

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