Sam Romero


I don’t get it.

August 19th, 2008 by Sam Romero

“I don’t get it.”

If you work at a marketing department or an ad agency, you’ve been there. You’ve shown your boss, or your co-worker, or your client a proposed print ad or direct mail piece or headline or concept and gotten from them a blank stare and the comment “I don’t get it.”

Well here’s some good news: they don’t have to get it.

Really, they don’t. If your boss or your client doesn’t get the message you are sending in your material, it doesn’t matter in the least.

What matters is that your target audience gets it. For example, if you are selling to…

-Girls ages 12 to 14 attending private schools on the east coast

-System administrators responsible for 1,000 to 4,999 Windows desktop machines

-Paralegals with more than four years of experience and at least one professional certification

…and the message you have created catches that target’s attention and motivates them to take the specific action you desire then it matters NOT ONE IOTA if anyone else “gets it.”

Sure, the real world beats up on this idea every day. If your boss or client doesn’t “get” the message they might not approve it. And sometimes your boss or client is actually inside the mind of the target audience, so that when they say they don’t get it that fact is meaningful.

But too often, the fact that someone who does not need to “get it” doesn’t, in fact, “get it”, leads to the demise of a damned good piece of work.

Well, here’s some bad news: when that happens, it’s your fault.

Because if you work in a marketing department or an ad agency and in your role you present proposed materials to people for feedback or approval, it is your job to defend messages that work. If a message would truly have worked, you absolutely, unequivocally should have been able to defend it. You should have been able to clearly articulate and demonstrate how and why the message would have worked.

So the next time you hear “I don’t get it,” or think you’re going to hear it, be ready. Know how and why the message you are presenting will succeed. And don’t be shy. Tell your boss or your client in plain English: You don’t have to get it.

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