tellstory.jpgIf you run a business you’ve got to realize one thing…no one cares about what you do.

Really. Your audience doesn’t care about you, your story, how you got to where you are, who you’ve worked with, or what services you offer. They don’t care that you’re the best widget maker in the midwest. And they could care less if you’ve got some new perspective on their health crisis. They’re simply not going to hear that.

So why do the great majority of businesses still market themselves as though people care? It’s not very effective. It reaches only a small audience. And it’s a huge waste of time, energy and money.

So what do people care about then?


They care about themselves. They care about their pain, their suffering, their issues. They care about the problems they face in their lives, their health or their business. In other words – they care about their own story.

You see, the great majority of people don’t begin looking for help until they need it. That means people mostly buy when they have a need. The need is often a problem they’re facing. And it’s the problem that they’re looking for a solution too.

So contrary to what many business owners believe, people aren’t looking for a product to buy or a service to use. Rather, they’re looking for a solution to their problem. And often, they don’t care whether it’s a product or a service – or even who’s delivering it. They just want their problem solved – they want their pain to be relieved.

Take a second and think about the websites you visited lately or the brochures you’ve picked up. Think about how you felt reading them. Are their any that spoke to you more than others? Think back as to why. I would suggest that the ones that spoke most to you spent less time telling you about them and more time telling you about you.

If you can see this, you’ll see the key to converting views, whether your website, a print ad or your brochures, into contacts. And that’s what you want. Especially if you really can solve their problem.

So how are you telling your audience’s story? Or are you telling your own a bit too much? And as a consumer, what do you respond to – their story or your own?

(note: image from AdriAnny on Flickr)

Reader Interactions


  1. Patrick says

    This is one topic that often has left me scratching my head. I hear a lot of the marketing “gurus” talking about how important your story is and I think we get hung up on the “your” part as in the person. In some case the ties between the founder of a company and company are intertwined. This can be both bad and good. An example of this is Steve Jobs. We have heard the stories of how his idealism has gone to extremes beyond the world of computers and how that flows into Apple but we have also heard the concerns that Apple is too tied to Jobs. It’s almost as if the next CEO (and Steve won’t be their forever even if he stays the rest of his life) will need to take on the Steve Jobs “brand”.

    The founder of Chick-Fil-A stories is also tied to the company. With all that being said I’m a little surprised Dave Thomas’s daughter, Wendy has not had a more visible role in her fathers company since he died.

    I think the real story people are interested in is the existance of the product of service, why it was named what it was named. For the general public I think this is what they want to know. However among my friends and family I think they are more interested in my story but compared to the general public they are a minority compared to the rest of my client base.

    My dad may tell his friends about the work “I” do but one of our other clients will more than likely be telling the story of the product or service.

    For the record I could care less about Steve Jobs personal life. Quite a few things he does seem very nutty but I do appreciate his standards even though they may be extreme for a lot of people. For my day to day work it’s my computer and how it performs and is reliable that I appreciate and that’s the story I tell others.

  2. Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk says

    I’m not trying to sell anything, so my comment probably doesn’t fit here. But the sites I visit the most are the ones where people share their experiences of life rather than try to solve my problems. Sites with lists of things I should do to improve my life turn me off. I suppose my reaction is because I’ve heard/read about most of the material before. I want to know how it plays out in their own lives.

    So, why do I even come here? Because I like Dawud as a person. And he often shares part of himself.

  3. communicatrix says

    That’s an interesting point, Jean. I think even the best how-to sites–Merlin Mann’s leaps to mind–really work over the long haul because of the authenticity of the central voice. Yeah, it’s about Quicksilver or MailTags or GTD, but it’s filtered through Merlin’s experience (or, at this point, the other contributors, who also have pretty distinctive voices.)

    There is nothing new under the sun, but there are constantly new voices through whom the old stuff gets filtered so we can perceive it differently.

    Yay for that!

  4. Dawud Miracle says

    And I’m one that thinks Job’s story is interesting.

    Yet what I’m talking about here isn’t the business owner’s personal story. Rather it’s the perspective businesses take in marketing. Prospective customers want to see themselves and their problems in your marketing materials. They want to connect on that level. And until they do, they don’t care about what you do. In other words, all customers are asking, “what’s in it for me.”

    Does that help a bit?

    And I venture to say that you visit and comment here because you see something in or for yourself. Would you not agree? That’s what I’m talking about.

    Successful marketing isn’t about how much I can tell you about me and my business. Rather it’s about how much I can illustrate that understand you and your needs.

    Remember, your customers don’t care what you know until they know how much you care.

  5. Kal says

    I think that you are way off the mark with this article. I very much care about more than what a product/company can do for me directly. For example, I recycle everything I possibly can. Growing landfills don’t have a direct effect on my daily living, but if I see a company using excess packaging, implementing lack of compassion for our environment or its workers, I don’t buy their products.

    Sure this article covers the average person, but not every person. Without sharing their story, many businesses don’t get my money. Same goes with meat production–so I’m a vegetarian. It’s important to me to know a company’s story. Even more important, I look for the things they aren’t telling me about their practices and what other people are discovering.

  6. Dawud Miracle says

    Great points. Of course no idea works for everyone – and it shouldn’t even try. We’re way to diverse as people for that.

    Yet I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the reason you’re interested in a company’s story is because you see a ‘problem’ that exists and want to support a solution for it. So your story comes first. I’d love to hear your thoughts…

    So what do you care about?

    I’m part of communicatrix’s mutual adoration club.

  7. lei says

    Consumer always consider themselves as preference. In order to sell to your target market one should create a need for them. Although i still believe that businesses should sell themselves as credible suppliers of a product.I dont agree that businesses shouldnt let their consumers know that they are the one supplying the product because the issue of credibility is getting in the picture. Some consumers buy a particular product because of credibility.

  8. Dawud Miracle says

    Most consumers buy because of credibility and trust – not just some. Creating credibility is one of the key points to effective marketing. Establish credibility, build trust and make it clear that you can solve a problem with your product and you’ve likely earned yourself a customer.

    With Dawud or with Jean?

  9. chris says

    Interesting post, it reminds me of a quote a college teacher told me a while back. “More people care about their toothache than 100 people dieing in a flood in Asia.”

  10. Paul says

    I couldn’t agree more. I run into old friends from time to time and when i start to tell them what I have been up to they just seem to get lost in the story. They don’t care cause what I am currently doing doesn’t effect or do anything for them. I can see it in their eyes as they lose interest after about 45sec.

  11. Dawud Miracle says

    I think you’re right on. You do have to connect the dots for people – strongly connect the dots.

    Be a great study in marketing…huh?

    I always think there’s something to consider in what you’re suggesting. It’s difficult to care for others when we’re not first taking care of ourselves. Good lesson for life and for business, don’t you think?

    I’ve been there too – more on the other side, though. How have you gotten out of the situation? And what do you do/how do you feel once you’ve realized what’s going on?

    I don’t thin that people only care about themselves. Rather, I think that people have a much more difficult time caring for others when they’re not first caring for themselves. Don’t you think we’re social creatures and need social interaction? Hence, doesn’t that mean we care for each other?

    True. Let’s remember that the post I put is about reaching an audience through you business. Personal and interpersonal relationships are different.

  12. Paul says

    I have to be honest. Once I realize that they absolutely do not care anymore it makes me sad. As dumb as that is I am passionate about what I do and about business in general. It excites me! I like to think that I can read people pretty well from my days as a bartender. So as I start to see them lose interest I get mad, turn around and walk away. For me it comes down to respect. I would listen to them until they were done talking. ya know

  13. Dawud Miracle says

    I do know. I tend to listen to people as well. Even when it gets a bit boring. But you know, we’re all different, so I tend to manage my boredom and just try to find a way to enjoy the relationship.

  14. Dining Room Furniture says

    Products and services that make people’s lives simpler, easier, more comfortable, or take away a little sorrow and trouble are what would sell well. And the best way to sell a product is indeed telling people how it would help in many ways. That I think is hte basis of all advertising and marketing.

  15. Dawud Miracle says

    Dining Room,
    True. And there’s a difference between telling people how you can help them and showing them that you empathize and understand the problems they face. It’s subtle, but important. It’s about where you put the emphasis. Is it on you, the business owner, or on the people who your business serves?

  16. Laser Hair Removal says

    Beautiful post. I just loved it. You have explained such an important point of view in such a simple manner

  17. Dawud Miracle says

    Spot on, my friend. If you listen to a prospect, they’ll tell you exactly what they need – and what they need to hear to decide if you’re right for them.

  18. valutahandel says

    This is spot on, thats why if you are trying to sell something you need to know what kind of people you are targeting and then find out what kind of problems they need a solution for.


  1. […] with a preposition.)Effective business writing must focus on the customer, not the seller. In Hey Business Owner, Nobody Cares About Your Story, Dawud Miracle explains why this is true. While he overstates the case just a bit, the point of […]

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