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Who Needs a Digital Coach? (I Do!)

Posted By Holly Buchanan On January 23, 2008 @ 12:37 pm In Blogs,Entrepreneurship | 14 Comments

Seth Godin's head [1]Seth Godin piqued my interest (there’s a surprise) with his post about a shortage of digital coaches [1]. Seth points out a need that a whole lot of people, myself included, have: Help getting more from the technology in which they’ve already invested.

We have an interesting discussion going [2] about Apple, technology needs, and advertising to different types of computer users. Here’s another chance to look at how people use technology and how you can use that knowledge to create better advertsing for them.

As Seth tells it on his blog [1],

Here are three things that are true:

1.) Digital technology, especially computers and cell phones, can dramatically increase productivity.
2.) More and more users of digital technology are small firms or individuals.
3.) The vast majority of users of digital technology are totally lame in getting the most out of the investment of their time and money.

My guess is I’m not alone in how I use technology. I can set it up myself, and I do. I can figure out some stuff, and I do. But is there a better way to use this technology? You bet. If I had about 200 extra hours, I could go out and educate myself on every cool product, feature, new software, etc., and set it up to greatly increase my productivity. Here’s the only catch: I don’t have 200 hours.

I don’t have one hour.

One hour that takes me away from what really matters to me — researching marketing to women online, doing outstanding client work, being taken for my afternoon walk by my Lab — is one hour too many. Like many people, I would gladly trade time for money. I would gladly hire someone who has lost 200 hours of their life learning this stuff so they can set it up for me.

In his blog post, Seth is looking for the same person I am.

Here’s what I haven’t found: people who charge $100 an hour to hear what you do and how you do it and then show you how to do it better. People who organize data and put it in the right place. People who overhaul the way small groups use technology so they can use it dramatically better. People who use copilot [3] to take over a PC and actually rearrange it so that it works better.

YES! Where is that person!? As luck would have it, the post links to a Squidoo page [4] where people who provide just such a service let you know about themselves.

Last I checked, there were over 40 responses, but only one really got my attention. Here’s what it said:

“Your tools should fit YOUR life”

Now THAT’s great copywriting. (Sign me up!) Use words that your customers can relate to. In one sentence, they managed to explain exactly how I feel: Technology should work for me, not the other way around.

Here are some of my reactions to the other “digital coach [4]” auditions:

“Web gurus help make sense of online technologies.” (I’m not interested in trying to make sense of technology. My love life, yes. Technology, no.)

“Simple easy to do lessons and tips.” (I don’t want lessons and tips. That’s why I’m hiring you!)

“Have you been seeking some hand-holding?” (Not since I was three.)

“Teaching digital literacy.” (Did you just call me illiterate?)

People who are not tech-savvy are not inherently stupid. It’s not that we don’t understand; it’s that we choose to spend our time doing other things that are more important to us. There’s an important distinction.

Don’t be condescending.

If you want to build solidarity with someone, look at their problem through their eyes. That’s why “your tools should fit YOUR life” is a very powerful message. You shouldn’t have to work your life around technology. Technology should work around you.

If you’re going after the do-it-yourselfers, some of those other lines would work. But if you’re going after the do-it-for-me crowd, try the “your tools should fit YOUR life” approach. (Trust me, it could win you a lot of business.)

Agree with them. THEY are not the problem.

[Editor's Note: If you're a fan of his work, take a moment to listen to our exclusive interview with Seth Godin [5], or download it by right-clicking here [6].]

Article printed from Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow: http://www.grokdotcom.com

URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/01/23/digital-coaches/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/01/a-shortage-of-d.html

[2] an interesting discussion going: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/01/10/mac-guy/

[3] copilot: https://www.copilot.com/

[4] Squidoo page: http://www.squidoo.com/digitalcoach

[5] exclusive interview with Seth Godin: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/12/24/seth-godin-meatball-sundae/

[6] here: http://www.grokdotcom.com/podcasts/Seth_Godin_podcast.mp3

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