I saw this story the other day. I’m not sure if it’s true, but either way, it provides a good allegory for marketing.

One day, Karen Hughes, George W. Bush’s top communications aide, was walking along a beach. She looked up and saw a small plane towing an advertising banner. It read: “Jill come back. I am miserable without you. Love, Jack.” Her first thought: “Bad message, Jack. Too much about you, and not enough about her.”

What is your message? Is it all about you? Or is it about your (potential) customer? It’s not that having a brochure that tells your customers everything you do is a bad thing, but it’s a lot more attractive and desirable if that brochure comes from the point of view of meeting the customer’s needs.

Which sounds better? “We build 400 kinds of doors.” Or: “We strive to understand your exact door needs, and with 400 types of doors in stock, we can usually find you something quickly and at the right price.” Given the choice, I’ll take door (pitch) number two every time.