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The Value of Honest Feedback for Your Marketing Ideas

Intro by Skip Cohen

Sarah Petty’s blog, Joy of Marketing, is chocked full of great content. I found this little gem recently written by Erin Verbeck. Erin is the Chief Joy Officer at the Joy of Marketing. She’s a non-stop contributor to excellent business/marketing tips, content and working with Sarah to help artists raise the bar on the quality of their business!

Through past years in business, especially back in my Polaroid days and later Hasselblad, I found that all the answers on how to build a stronger business were out there if I just listened. I’d talk to customers, retailers and our sales reps always prefacing my questions on a foundation of “I don’t want to know what we do right. I want to know what we do wrong and how we can help you more.”

Even today, being active with the Friendship Centers, a local nonprofit, I’ll ask almost the same type of question with, “What’s on your wish list? What do you wish we did better or more of?”

Erin is so accurate here with her statement about how “we claim we want honest feedback.” The truth is, too often we don’t want to hear what we’re doing wrong.

So, to the point of this morning’s post – you’ve got to keep an open mind and build a healthy network. It’s the inner-circle of your network that’s the most valuable for the most honest feedback on everything you do. You always want the most honest feedback you can get and remember…

“You’ve got two ears and one mouth – so listen twice as much as you talk!”

By Sarah Petty

We say we want the truth. We claim we want honest feedback on our current marketing idea. Yet most of us (especially females, myself included) really only want to hear it if it’s positive. We’re often our own worst critic so when we seek feedback, what we want deep down is a reassurance.

I think many of us in small business are hard-wired to please people. That’s why we got into the business in the first place – to share our talents and gifts with others to make them happy, too!

When we don’t knock the ball out of the park (whether it be with the special event we planned, the new recipe we tried or the direct mail piece we sent out), we’re down in the dumps, sometimes for days. Those closest to us who we seek feedback from becoming hesitant to share with honesty because they see how we get defensive or worse, depressed when they do! And the worst offenders of us are those who HOLD A GRUDGE against those who tried to give us honest feedback.

But the thing is if we’re always told everything we do is perfect, we never gain perspective, we never grow, we’re never challenged to be better. So as painful as it may be, find a group of confidants whose opinion you really value. These people have your best interest at heart. They aren’t competitors or even competitive with you (so your family may not be the best people for this group). They are people who understand your goals, appreciate your work, and want you to be better. Then ask them for their honest feedback and put away your ego.

Be prepared to take their feedback without the tears, without the defensiveness, without the attitude. They are doing you a favor. Now take it and run with it!