Pretend the Customer is a Teen

March 5, 2007

The Mousetrap Series…by Matt Michel


The Mousetrap Series is about helping you sell more mousetraps, no matter what the mousetrap is that you sell. I don’t care how good your mousetrap is, few people will buy it if you do not market it well.


4. Pretend the Customer is a Teen


If you do not have a teen of your very own, this will be difficult to relate to. However, I might be persuaded to rent you a teen for a very reasonable rate so that you can fully appreciate the point. Those who have teens of their very own will understand.


Teens hear selectively. They never hear words like "clean" when used with the word "up." Yet, they can hear a whisper from upstairs when it deals with a phone call for them. Teens hear selectively. So do your customers.


Telling a teen once is rarely enough, even if they acknowledge hearing you. Teens must be told again and again and again for something to have a prayer of sinking in (e.g., repeat "Clean your room" 30 or 40 times and it might sink in… provided there is an adequate risk/reward ratio). You must use repetition with teens. It’s the same with your customers.


Teens think you are dense and out of touch. It doesn’t matter how "hip" you might actually be, they think you don’t "get it." And if their friends think you’re "cool," they are completely embarrassed and humiliated. If you really "got it," their friends would think you didn’t "get it." It doesn’t have to make sense. It’s teen-think. They think you’re dense and out of touch. So do your customers.


Teens also think you do not understand them. In this, they are probably on the mark. How can any sane person understand a teenager (at least, their own teenager)? It’s not possible. No matter how hard you try, you cannot understand their view of things, though you can approximate, especially when it comes to setting the proper risk/reward ratios. The same is true for your customers.


Teens act for reasons known only to them. They do not act for your benefit. That never crosses their mind. The same is true for your customers.


With teens, it’s "all about me." Next to infants, they are the most narcissistic creatures on the planet. The same is true with your customers. They only care about themselves.


Imagine your customers are like teens. That's your marketing communication challenge. Hey, no one said it would be too easy!


Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2003 Matt Michel


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